LONDON/NEW YORK: For all the industry angst about ad blocking, it's some way from being the most urgent challenge the advertising world has to address, according to one industry figure, who suggests that less engagement is the way forward.

Talking to Warc, Ilya Vedrashko, SVP/consumer research at Boston-based agency Hill Holliday, pointed out that ad fraud, for example, had a much greater financial impact on clients.

"In ad blocking, we don't have to pay for the inventory that is not shown," he said. "Also, as a side benefit, now we also don't have to pay for an advertising mis-click by an awkward thumb on a small screen."

He identified one direct adverse effect of ad blocking for agency business and client budgets – inventory prices are likely to rise in the long term in order to compensate for the lower amounts of inventory – although he conceded that publishers might view things rather differently.

As to finding a solution to the problem of ad blocking, Vedrashko suggested advertisers make ads simpler and stop trying so hard to engage consumers.

"I think a lot of demand for ad blockers comes from our over-eagerness to engage somebody, and to bother them, and to make them to pay attention to us," he said.

"All of those scripts that triple loading times and all of those things that jump at you when you want to try and read something: that comes from a very good place – that comes from us trying to be engaging. But, unfortunately, the result is such that people are prepared to pay not to look at all that."

One answer might be "stepping ten years back and having nice, neat rectangles that sit politely and look nice when somebody looks like them, but otherwise don't distract anybody from their business that they have on the page".

A Warc Trends Snapshot says resolving the ad-blocking dilemma depends in large part on how the challenge is defined – as a technical one that seeks to block the blockers, or as a form of user feedback that requires new formats and better creative.

In the short term, however, brands should assess whether their target audience over-indexes for use of ad blockers – and which specific channels are particularly impacted.

Data sourced from Warc