A “friend” (not her real name) complained to me yesterday there were too many ads. “It’s like all ads!”

I told her that it’s easy to block the ads. She didn’t know that.

You can block the ads. You can also block the tracking tags. These are bits of code that are added to webpages. When you open a page, click on something, or even just move your mouse, the tags collect information and report it somewhere.

I checked this morning: there are 1,934 tracking tags. That’s an astonishing number of companies that collect your every action and sell your data to other companies so they can bombard you with yet more ads.

Many advertising companies are run by ethical, responsible people. However, some ad companies are run by jerks who do whatever they want just to make money.

Block the Tracking

Add Ghostery to your browser.

  1. Visit Ghostery.com and install it.
  2. Just click and it’s installed.
  3. A small blue ghost icon appears at the top right of your browser.
  4. Click the icon to make changes.
  5. Add the list of tracking tags that you want to block. You can choose from the list of 1,934 or just select all. To do this…
  6. Click the Gear Icon and select Options.
  7. Click Select All and save.
  8. When you refresh the page, the tracking is blocked.


Block the Ads

To get rid of the ads.

  1. Use Adblock Plus.
  2. Open that and click the Install button.
  3. A red ABP icon appears at the top right of your browser.
  4. Click the icon.
  5. Click Options.
  6. Turn ON the first two
  7. Turn OFF the last one.
  8. Exit and you’ll not see any more ads.

The last one is a bit tricky. AdblockPlus blocks all ads. However, if a company pays AdblockPlus, the company’s ads will be shown. By turning this off, you can block those ads too.

If I Work in Marketing, Why Do I Turn Off Ads?

You may wonder about that. I work in digital marketing, yet I turn off ads.

A study by Tim Suther, then-CMO of Acxiom, showed that 80% of digital advertising fails to reach its target audience. 80% of ads are wasted due to ad blindness (people have learned to ignore ads) and ad blocking tools. Push advertising (thrown ads in people’s faces) doesn’t work.

Another way to do marketing is pull advertising, where you create content that attracts interested viewers. Your audience wants to see the content. They choose to visit. My book The Big Book of Content Marketing is based on this idea (visit the page to learn more about it).

Tactics that work include SEO, social, video, and content marketing. What doesn’t work well? Untargeted PPC, SEM, banner ads, popups, and popunders. PPC  works when it announces a content campaign.

So even though I work in digital marketing, I have no problem with blocking the tracking and advertising.  Companies should learn push advertising doesn’t work.

Companies should put their efforts in making better products so people want the product. Is that possible?

Generally, ad agencies recommend for companies to spend 20% of their revenues on advertising. Apple had $170 billion in revenues for 2013. Ad agencies think Apple should spend $34 billion (20%) in marketing. But people stand in line for Apple stuff. Thieves race through street traffic to steal Apple stuff. Apple spends only 0.6% (zero point six percent) of its revenues on marketing. They simply don’t need to advertise because their products are so cool.

So make better stuff. Give your customers what they really want. That works.