Can brands maneuver around ad-blocking technology? It’s a definite challenge, but new research from creative portfolio site Visual Objects reveals there may still be marketing and advertising opportunities with consumers who use it.

Ad blockers may be popular, but nearly 60 percent of people who use them voluntarily disable the technology—or “whitelist”—for certain website pages or domains, according to the firm’s new consumer survey of 500 people who use ad blockers to understand their ad preferences and why they “whitelist” domains. The resulting report helps businesses effectively market to ad blocker users.

The findings indicate that businesses can still reach users of ad blockers by improving their ads’ user experience (UX) and putting consumers in control of their ad experiences through customization and feedback features.

New research uncovers marketing opportunities with ad blockers

Most people whitelist ads on social media

Over half of people who whitelist websites (56 percent) do so on social media. Experts say businesses can reach ad-blocking internet users more effectively on social media channels.

Ben Williams, director of advocacy at eyeo, says social media ads are less intrusive, so ad-fatigued consumers are more likely to tolerate them. “A lot of the ads you see on social media happen within the feed,” Williams said, in a news release. “I don’t think the annoyance factor is quite as high because you can scroll right through it.”

Ads on other types of websites often disrupt the user experience by slowing the load time of a page or creating a barrier to important content. Less than 30 percent of survey respondents whitelist news websites, and only 17 percent whitelist smaller blogs.

New research uncovers marketing opportunities with ad blockers

Social media ads offer a better user experience than traditional banner and pop-up ads, creating a channel for businesses looking to expand their advertising reach.

Users of ad blockers want to customize their ad experiences

Social media is also ad blocker users’ favorite place to customize ads; 45 percent of survey respondents say they have customized their Facebook ads, and two-thirds of ad blocker users (66 percent) have customized ads online.

When businesses allow users to customize ads, it satisfies ad-blocking consumers’ desire to have more control over their ad experience.

New research uncovers marketing opportunities with ad blockers

Louis Belpaire, director of paid media and analytics at digital marketing firm Silverback Strategies, supports ad customization. “Being able to remove irrelevant ad experiences quickly results in more relevant, targeted ads,” he said, in the release. “It really helps both advertisers and users get better quality content.”

Respondents are divided on paying for ad-free browsing

People who use ad blockers diverge when asked about paying a premium for ad-free browsing, the survey found. Thirty-five percent of respondents say they are unlikely to pay for an ad-free internet experience compared to 40 percent who say they arelikely to pay.

As ad-free browsers and paid subscription models become more popular, the survey suggests that ad-supported businesses should experiment with offering fee-based, ad-free options on their websites.

Read the full survey report here.

New research uncovers marketing opportunities with ad blockers

Visual Objects surveyed 500 people in the U.S. who use ad blockers. 

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Richard Carufel

Richard Carufel

Richard Carufel is editor of Bulldog Reporter and the Daily ’Dog, one of the web’s leading sources of PR and marketing communications news and opinions. He has been reporting on the PR and communications industry for over 12 years, and has interviewed hundreds of journalists and PR industry leaders.

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