The MWC panel gathered together a host of industry experts including Google's managing director of media and platforms, Benjamin Faes; Yahoo's vice president and general manager for advertising, Nick Hugh; AOL's chief marketing officer, Allie Kline; Nestle's vice president of digital and social media, Pete Blackshaw; and Shine's CMO, Roi Carthy on stage in Barcelona to discuss the future of the ad-tech revolution.
While there were certainly strong viewpoints to come out of the panel discussion, Nestle's Blackshaw summed it up well, commenting, “We need to view the debate as an opportunity to galvanise more industry attention around this [ad blocking].”
The reality is that we need to utilise this attention to encourage publishers and consumers to align on new models of compensation that safeguard the diversity of the internet as we know it. Research from IAB UK shows over half of consumers don't understand the link between free content and viewing advertising and it is the responsibility of the publisher to educate users about this value exchange. Publishers must take the opportunity to re-educate audiences, shifting from an implicit relationship between advertising and free content to an explicit one.
Looking at the different options available for publishers that want to overcome ad blocking, we recently ran a survey that examines their attitudes toward the different tactics available. Perhaps the most unpopular solution was to consider white-listing ads, with 9 in 10 (90%) UK publishers opposed to paying fees for certain ads to be displayed. Similarly, 78% of UK publishers were unlikely to consider implementing a paywall. Consumer messaging was certainly the most-favoured method, with over three-fifths (62%) of UK publishers likely to select direct consumer messaging to create "choice moments."
"Choice moments" are the key -- they provide an opportunity to present alternative compensation models to consumers. Publishers can display a message asking users to switch off their ad blocker or choose an alternative compensation plan, which could offer a subscription to the website or a user-centric ad experience where the consumer opts into certain types of advertising. Reassuringly, this week&'s latest ad-blocking survey from IAB UK provides publishers with hope, with one in two people (53%) of those who employ ad blockers agreeing to disable a blocker to access content and one in six (16%) have already done so.
By engaging in a conversation with consumers and offering a choice on how they compensate the publisher for content -- whether this be via subscription, choosing a uniquely tailored ad experience or by disabling ad blockers to enjoy a high-quality ad experience -- publishers can safeguard a sustainable media ecosystem.