Navigating the Rise of Ad Blockers as a Small Business Owner

As a consultant helping small and medium businesses succeed, I keep a close watch on emerging tech and trends that may impact my clients. Lately I‘ve been investigating the rapid growth of ad blockers – software that removes ads from your browsing experience. Here‘s what every small business owner needs to know.

Key Ad Blocker Statistics

Recent data indicates ad blocker usage is accelerating:

  • 763 million devices worldwide had ad blockers enabled as of Q4 2019. Up from just 213 million in Q4 2013.
  • 44.7% of internet users in Vietnam had ad blockers in Q3 2021 – the highest rate globally.
  • Ad blocker use in the US has climbed from 15.7% of online adults in 2014 to 27% as of 2021.

Moreover, surveys found that 58% of ad blocker users will never consent to disable their blockers to view content.

This presents an enormous challenge to small business owners who rely heavily on online advertising to drive leads and traffic. Display ads, video pre-rolls and other intrusive formats favored by SMBs due to lower costs could see falling view rates moving forward.

Why Consumers Adopt Ad Blockers

Of respondents who have enabled ad blockers, their stated reasons include:

  • Too many ads overall – 22.3%
  • Irrelevant/annoying ads – 22.3%
  • Privacy concerns – 12.7%
  • Slow page loading – 9.6%

For a small business trying to nurture leads with valuable, personalized ads and content, this consumer annoyance with excessive, privacy-invading advertising is worrying. It means even thoughtful SMB marketing risks being blocked by users.

Smart Ways SMBs Can Respond

As a consultant, here are my top recommendations for small businesses facing the expansion of ad blocking technology:

Get Creative with Ad Formats

Consider alternative ad approaches like native advertising blended into content or personalized recommendations based on previous purchases from your brand. For example, 53% of consumers find recommendations useful even though they realize they‘re paid ads.

Respect User Experience

Avoid intrusive ads like auto-play video whenever possible – 44% of respondents cite these formats as the #1 driver of ad blocker use. Make your ads as easy to dismiss and page load impact minimal.

Build Trust

Be extremely transparent about any tracking, targeting or remarketing done. Assure website visitors you collect only essential data required to improve their experience.

The combination of alternative ad formats, a respect for user experience, and building consumer trust around data can help SMBs succeed even with ad blocking on the rise. Visit for more science-backed techniques.