A common area of concern for marketers and business leaders recently has been the rapid acceleration and development of ad blocking, which refers to the software that prevents advertisements from displaying before they are fully loaded in the browser.

The use of this technology has gained significant traction in the last several years and is only expected to grow. According to eMarketer, in 2016, ad blocking services will be used by almost 70 million people in the United States, marking a nearly 34.5 percent spike from 2015. In 2017, the number could reach as many as 86.6 million people, a 24 percent jump.

Breaking the barriers of ad blockers
"Ad blocking is a detriment to the entire advertising ecosystem, affecting mostly publishers, but also marketers, agencies and others whose businesses depend on ad revenue," eMarketer Senior Analyst Paul Verna explained. "The best way for the industry to tackle this problem is to deliver compelling ad experiences that consumers won't want to block."

Furthermore, eMarketer pointed out that as the number of mobile and digital devices being used continues to increase, as well as the frequency with which people use them, so will the prevalence of ad blockers. For online advertisers, this presents an obvious issue.

However, as Verna indicated, although the presence of ad blockers can hurt the advertising efforts of publishers, marketers and an array of businesses in various industries looking to advertise online, it doesn't mean that they are at a complete loss. The key to coming out successful in a world that is becoming increasingly reliant on ad blockers to rethink the approach to presenting consumers with compelling content. But what exactly does this mean?

Leveraging print for advertising advantage
According to Dr. Joe Webb in an article for WhatTheyThink, the antidote to ad blocking is "to make a flanking move, to reach those targets with a different medium." Of course, the channel Webb is pointed to is print. As we have discussed in many a previous blog, paper products and business forms are still very much necessary staples for organizations today to use, including those in the financial, retail and legal markets – and not just for transactional items or order documents. 

Using paper and print products to deliver essential communications and messages to target audiences can be an effective way for advertisers to stand out from the crowd and ensure that the information even reaches them at all (rather than getting blocked out by the browser). With so many companies now focusing most or all of their attention and spend on digital platforms and web-based initiatives, there is an advantageous opportunity for firms to market through a medium that is less crowded and competitive.

Therefore, now is a great time for print service providers to tackle this group of potential customers – those who are frustrated with ad blockers and concerned about how the future growth and expansion of the technology may impact their business.