Facebook FB -0.02 % is going to start forcing ads to appear for all users of its desktop website, even if they use ad-blocking software. The social network said on Tuesday that it will change the way advertising is loaded into its desktop website to make its ad units considerably more difficult for ad blockers to detect. Ads are a part of the Facebook experience; they're not a tack on," said Andrew "Boz" Bosworth, vice president of Facebook's ads and business platform. User adoption of ad-blocking software has grown rapidly in recent years, particularly outside of the U.S. According to estimates by online advertising trade body the Interactive Advertising Bureau, 26% of U.S. internet users now use ad blockers on their desktop devices. Facebook declined to comment when asked on what portion of its desktop users have ad-blocking software installed.
Adblock Plus has struck online advertising another blow by offering a new filter for users who want to block Facebook ads. Ad-blocking apps, plugins, and software are used to strip the majority of advertising out of website pages, social media networks, and other online services. While they can prevent malvertising -- fraudulent and malicious ads -- from potentially placing users at risk, they can have a massive knock-on effect for companies that rely on advert-generated revenue to stay afloat and keep offering free content online. There's no easy option -- although The Pirate Bay has recently turned to visitor CPU cryptocurrency mining as an alternative to ads -- beyond negotiation between vendor and ad-block provider, or making ads more seamless to prevent users from turning to such software in the first place. Some of the time, a game of cat-and-mouse comes into play, with adblockers on a campaign to block adverts, and vendors changing tactic to stop it occurring.
Advertisers have come up against a wall. The use of ad blockers is on the rise as consumers look to control how much interruptive advertising they receive online and over social media. People may not welcome what they see as an endless barrage of messaging, but that doesn't mean they want to block everything. They just want communications that are relevant. In the UK, for instance, the Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB) found that more than half of consumers would turn ad blocking off to receive the content they want.
The back-and-forth between Facebook and ad-blocking software companies has become almost farcical at this point: After Facebook said it would block the use of ad blockers, the leading ad-blocking company announced that it will block the use of Facebook's ad-blocker blocker. And now Facebook says it is rolling out a fix that will disable the ad-blocker's blocker blocking. As humorous as this cat-and-mouse battle may seem, there is a serious principle at stake for Facebook. If it can't reliably ensure that users are seeing its advertising, then the 1 billion it currently makes on desktop ads is potentially in jeopardy, and questions might also be raised about its ability to display ads on mobile too, which is a 5-billion business. That's why the giant social network rolled out its ad-blocker force field earlier this week, with a blog post that spent a lot of time on the controls that Facebook gives to users that allows them to choose which ads they want to see, and very little time on the technicalities of blocking ad-blockers.
Thu 15 Feb 2018 04.39 EST Last modified on Thu 15 Feb 2018 04.40 EST Google will start automatically blocking intrusive ads within its Chrome browser for desktop and Android from Thursday 15 February. The change, announced in June, will see the dominant browser that is used by over 56% of internet users block some of the most intrusive ads including full-page prestitial ads, flashing animated ads and auto-playing video ads with sound. "A big source of frustration is annoying ads: video ads that play at full blast or giant pop-ups where you can't seem to find the exit icon," said Rahul Roy-Chowdhury, vice president for Chrome. "These ads are designed to be disruptive and often stand in the way of people using their browsers for their intended purpose -- connecting them to content and information. The built-in adblocker will stop showing all ads on any sites that repeatedly display any one of a list of the most disruptive ads, as decided by the Coalition for Better Ads (CBA) – a group of advertising and online media companies including Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Proctor & Gamble, Unilever and a collection of publishers including News Corp, Thomson Reuters and the Washington Post.