Digital Marketing Digital Transformation

For or against Adblocks? Advertising needs to be thought differently

Adblocks - Agnes Mantel
Written by Agnès MANTEL

Nowadays, people are using the Internet free of charge, they all think that the information is free and it’s normal. They don’t realize that there is a media behind the scenes that has to gain money. Also, we noticed that people don’t like advertising and marketing anymore, whether it is offline or online. With the growth of web technologies and native advertising, people don’t trust companies, they just see them as liars. That’s why they download softwares like AdBlock that block undesirable contents.

What is AdBlock?

Watch this funny video made by AdBlock that presents the software in real life situations.

AdBlock is the most famous free browser extension that blocks undesirable contents and ads. It has more than 200 million downloads and can be on mobile and desktop. “The original AdBlock works automatically. Choose to continue seeing unobtrusive ads, whitelist your favorite sites, or block all ads by default. Just click “Add to Chrome,” then visit your favorite website and see the ads disappear!” (AdBlock’s description).

On the market, there are other adblocks (1Blocker, Adguard, BlockBear, etc) but AdBlock is the main one.

Key figures & information:

According to a French study (Infographic PrivaCircle), there are 300 millions Adblocks users in the world. More precisely, there are 4.2 millions users in France. These numbers benefit from a strong evolution, indeed there are increasing by 94% per year.

People use an Adblock for few reasons, here are the most popular in France:

  • 78% of French people think that advertising on the internet is annoying and interrupts the reading. They find ads repetitive and basic.
  • Among all French users, 65% think that ads are boring and intrusive, 66% think there are too many on websites and 50% are afraid that customized ads will expose their private life.

Adblocks seem to be a good solution to avoid annoying ads and even if you have this software, you still receive ads (newsletters, promotions, ads offline, mailer, wallpapers…)

So, why Adblocks can be a danger for companies?

First of all, online advertising is a real business. Consumers think that all on the web has to be free. For example, to offer free of charge content, online newspapers need to monetize their platform or create products fees. Some of them choose to create free articles. And for the other articles, you can just read the beginning and then you have to subscribe.

Wall Street Journal - Blocked article - Agnès Mantel

Example of a Wall Street Journal article. 

Nowadays, online advertising represents 2,89 billion euros but it is growing. So, adblocks is creating a real loss of money for editors, which amouted to 22 billion dollars in 2015 and 41.4 billion in 2016. These figures show how Adblocks can be dangerous. Recently, a group of editors decided to create a pedagogic campaign in order to make people turn this plugin off. They blocked their contents to adblocks owner. With a message like the image below, they explain how advertising is vital for them. The goal was to raise awareness among people.

L'Equipe - Adblocks - Agnès Mantel

Exemple campaign in France by L’Equipe, a French Sports Editor: “Dear reader, if you see this page, it’s because your Adblock is activated. Please disabled it and then click on: Access to L’” “To thank you, L’Equipe offers you a Premium subscription for 1 month without commitment“. 

Some people think that it didn’t work and create the opposite effect. In fact, we saw that individuals turned off their adblocks to go on a specific website because they are forced to. But, minds didn’t change. It represents 84% of adblocks owners.

So, is there a solution for businesses?

First, ads need to be original and thought differently. The goal is not how to bypass adblocks but how to make consumers like my ads. Companies need to produce better ads. With the different digital tools like brand content, social media, CRM, etc. we are now able to better know our consumers and targets. And so, they can adapt and personalize their message and create more qualitative ads.

To conclude,

Adblocks don’t have to be seen as a danger but as a new way to think advertising. Companies have to listen to their client’s expectations.

From a consumer’s point of view, adblocks seems to be a solution to make advertisers think again. But, the company AdBlock Plus (fee solution) seems to forget its first goal: protecting consumers from ads. Indeed, companies can pay to be on the white list. This program raised many complaints. For example, in Germany Spiegel Online launched a lawsuit against it, in fact they found totally irrelevant their “Acceptable Adds” program.

We see other companies that develop their own software. For example, Twitch, a geek website has decided to develop its own Ad platform which will be able to pass through AdBlock.

So, is Adblock a real help solution for consumers and businesses?



  • PrivaCircle Infographic : Comment les Adblocks impactent Internet
  • SourcePoint Infographic : La stratégie des éditeurs mondiaux pour combattre l’ad blocking

About the author



International Digital Marketing Junior at Clarins Group.
Graduated from Ipag Business School (M2 Digital Marketing and Communication), Currently student from GEM (MS Digital Business Strategy).
Previously Web & Mobile Project Manager Assistant at Zadig & Voltaire (1 year).
Have a look at my Linkedin profile !