MIAMI – Now is a critical time for advertisers and publishers to advance best practices in dealing with consumer use of ad blocking technology because the growth of digital media won’t always outpace the growth in ad blocking.

Donnie Williams, Chief Digital Officer of media agency Horizon, cites data showing there are 200 million global ad block users—about 45 million of whom are in the U.S.—an increase of 50% year over year. It’s the main reason why ad blocking is one of the more talked-about issues at this year’s Transformation conference of the American Association of Advertising Agencies.

“Today we’re right at that breaking point where growth and adoption of digital media is still outpacing ad blocking usage a little bit,” Williams says during a break at the conference. “But the second that relationship changes, ad blocking outpaces growth of media consumption, you’re going to run into a bunch of publishers that have challenges monetizing their sites.”

This would mean less media opportunity for advertisers and their agencies. Near term, individual publishers have to learn how best to deal with people using technology that prevents them from being served ads on those publishers’ sites.

“One of the big challenges is it will be a publisher-to-publisher approach,” Williams says. “Forbes, The Washington Post, CNN. They individually have to work on [ad blocker] detection and that’s going to take a little while to come to fruition.”

Williams believes it’s a fait accompli that advertisers will see the price of some digital advertising inventory rise as a result of ad blocking. Publishers with shorter-term approaches to monetization who are hurt by ad blocking “will turn around and charge folks like myself, and a 150 clients or so, more money for the same advertising real estate.”

This video was recorded at the 4A’s Transformation conference in Miami. For additional interviews, please visit this page. Beet.TV’s coverage of the 4A’s was sponsored by The Trade Desk.

4A's Transformation 2016 Miami, presented by The Trade Desk