September 16, 2016
Ad blocking software has been in the news a lot lately due to the battle between Facebook and AdBlock Plus. Although a lot of people are cheering for AdBlock to win, the truth is they are detrimental to small and medium sized businesses (SMB).
Small business owners are the backbone of North America: When they scale, the middle class grows which then strengthens the whole economy.
Where Do Adblockers Come In?
In order for this chain of events to occur SMBs need to find new customers. Unlike the traditional methods of 20 years ago these business owners need to be more technologically savvy. This is something that is not a trend but reality, we see proof by the amount of tools and SaaS that in the past were enterprise focused. It’s vital for SMBs to advertise on social media on top of organic reach in order to reach potential customers who otherwise may have never heard of them. Many of the people who use ad blockers may be in desperate need of these small businesses and have no way of knowing it.
Not only are ad blockers preventing SMBs from reaching new customers by preventing highly qualified traffic from seeing their ads but they hold larger companies hostage by forcing them to pay for the blockers to allow certain ads, and you can bet what they’re charging is way out of budget for the little mom and pop shops.
This is just another way that the little guys suffer when it comes to digital advertising. They don’t have the funds to pay the prices ad blockers charge in order to get ads on their whitelist so they are left in the cold with very few options. How are they expected to compete in the market?
Imagine you’re a small leather goods repairperson that is looking for new customers, other than advertising in your local paper/sharing flyers in surrounding businesses and word of mouth how are you supposed to attract new customers? Ideally you’d turn to digital advertising but even that isn’t as effective as it should be because of ad blockers.
Needls (full disclosure I co-founded needls) is working hard every day to make the lives of small business owners easier by fully automating the social advertising process from creation to 24/7 optimization, that’s what people need so that they have time to do what they do best rather than trying to figure out who to target their ads to, their CTR or CPC.
There are a lot of resources out there that try to help small businesses with their digital advertising initiatives like Smartly and SiteScout to name a couple but there’s only so much they can do because of ad blocking softwares. While it may not be a big concern at this moment it is only getting worse and eventually will have a very negative impact across the board. The reality is that platforms like needls are overlays onto the actual ad serving platforms such as social networks, rubicon, double click and the like, there is so much inventory that they are still able to fill the needs of the end user.
There are currently over 50 million small businesses using Facebook to try to reach new customers but only three million of them are using Facebook’s advertising platform. That is a huge gap and may be one of the reasons that Facebook decided to write a code that disguises ads so that ad blockers can’t pick up on them.
It’s about time more people start standing up to these companies who are bullying the big guys and basically taking food out of the mouths of the small business owner and their family.
So the next time you talk about how much you love your ad blocker try to think about all the ways they negatively affect small businesses and the people that own them. They can be your friend, aunt, uncle, neighbor…everyone knows an SMB owner that’s being directly affected.
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