Imagine watching the Super Bowl without any commercials — or driving through a bustling city with blank billboards.
Now imagine watching YouTube without ads.
For some people, this is a reality. With YouTube Adblock, viewers can block ads from appearing in videos and on the webpage.
This begs the question: should video marketers worry about ad blocking?
Let's learn more about YouTube Adblock, if consumers actually use it, and tips from real video marketers on how to get around them.
What is YouTube Adblock?
YouTube AdBlock is a browser extension that filters and blocks advertising content on YouTube. This includes ads that appear before, during, and after a video.
Ad blockers may feel like a marketer's worst nightmare. But there is power in understanding why people use them.
Here are some quick stats: 48% of ad blocker users felt there were too many ads online. And 47% of users found these ads annoying or irrelevant.
Think of your own experience — have you ever been bombarded with pop-up ads while reading an article? Or watched a video ad that wasn't relevant to your interests… at all?
This study signals a clear trend: Users want a less intrusive experience with digital ads. And they're willing to guard their time and attention with ad blockers.
Do Consumers Use YouTube AdBlock?
We know the motivations behind using YouTube Adblock, but how many people actually use it? Take a look at HubSpot's survey about ad blocker use on YouTube:
More than half (63%) of respondents do not use any type of ad blocking software on YouTube, whereas a slim 11% of respondents do.
Does this mean marketers can breathe a big sigh of relief? Not so fast.
While the adoption of ad blockers is low, it is slowly increasing year-over-year. It may not be an immediate threat to your digital marketing strategy, but this could change in the coming years.
And, if your target audience consists of millennials, you may feel the effects of ad blocking more. People in the 18-to-24 range are the highest users of ad block software, while people younger than 12, and 65 and older, are among the lowest.
Marketers must get creative to leverage YouTube without ad blockers getting in the way. Here are four tips from video marketers on how to get started.
4 Tips for Navigating YouTube AdBlock, According to Video Marketers
1. Keep it in perspective.
Don't let the fear of ad blockers drive you away from YouTube entirely.
For Nicole Ondracek, marketing manager, paid advertising at HubSpot, advertising on YouTube still proves effective — even with pesky ad blockers.
"You're still able to reach so many people on YouTube that [AdBlock] doesn't really play a factor in our strategy."
Ondracek adds, "For example, one of our audiences is a Custom affinity audience, which is a type of audience that targets people with interests in B2B CRM software. This segment alone can still reach 500 million to 1 billion impressions a week."
While ad blockers "mute" a portion of your audience, YouTube still provides access to billions of users (2.1 billion to be exact), along with plenty of opportunities to reach them.
2. Diversify your ad channels.
It's never a good idea to put all your eggs in one (marketing) basket.
For instance, if your digital marketing solely revolves around YouTube advertising, you may want to diversify your marketing strategy to include "ad blocker-proof" channels, such as social media or content marketing.
Jennifer Brault, channel promotions manager at HubSpot, tells me, "When running any sort of digital marketing campaign, it's important to meet your audience where they are."
Brault continues, "By diversifying your advertising spend across multiple channels, you're not only reaching a variety of audiences, but you're also learning more about what platforms your audience spends their time on, which can help inform future ad spend and organic efforts."
3. Create a meaningful ad experience.
"Rather than trying to find ways around ad blockers, focus on finding ways to make advertising more meaningful and appealing to end users," says Bernard May of National Positions.
As ad blocker usage slowly rises, video marketers must put their audience at the center of their video strategy. This means getting to the heart of customers' interests, questions, and pain points — and then finding ways to address them.
Remember, consumers don't hate advertising — they hate bad advertising.
4. Focus on targeting.
While we can't necessarily get around ad blockers, we can focus on putting ads in front of the right people.
With Google AdWords (YouTube’s ad platform), video marketers can target people who already demonstrate an interest in specific topics or keywords relating to your business.
Affinity Audiences is an especially helpful targeting mechanism in Google Adwords. With Affinity Audiences, you can reach people based on their browsing history and place them in certain segments such as "bargain hunters" or "DIY."
For example, a marketer selling outdoor sports equipment could target users who recently searched for "ice fishing" or "best hiking trails near me."
Ad blocking technology isn't going away soon. Fortunately, all isn’t lost for digital marketers who can still benefit from YouTube by auditing their current practices, diversifying their marketing channels, and identifying areas for innovation.