Ad Blockers: It's All Of Our Fault

For publishers and advertisers alike, there’s no getting around ad blockers. No longer a novelty, ad blockers are costing publishers $22 billion dollars a year in revenue and jeopardizing the relationship between content providers and readers.

By working more collaboratively with agencies as well as brands, we can address the root cause of the rise of ad blockers and work toward a solution.

Digital advertising has reached a saturation point, sending readers scrambling for less intrusive platforms and potentially damaging the medium for everyone.

When ads routinely compromise the reader experience, it should come as no surprise that ad blocking has proliferated to the extent that by some estimates, 40% of Web users now employ them.

How can we find a way for publishers to provide top-shelf editorial content and protect their revenue while still helping marketers reach consumers? By admitting it’s all our fault we got to this point — and partnering to take three central steps to win readers back.



Step 1 – Be Your Own Focus Group

We: Brands, agencies, publishers — all need to put the consumer experience first.

If you don’t love auto-play with sound or 60-secrond pre-roll ads, odds are pretty good neither do readers.  Consumers are not motivated to spend time on sites where they’ll be subjected to endless ads.

In these data-driven times, we need to remember that there are actual people at the other end of those KPI’s.

Step 2 – Agencies and Brands, Listen to Your Publisher

Advertisers; listen to publishers when they tell you less is more, especially when it comes to brand integration. It comes down to balance.

The amount of ad messaging needs to be commensurate with the editorial, and ads should never overpower the user experience.

Contextually relevant ads and native content provide an entertaining and authentic user experience that boosts brand loyalty. Give readers the benefit of the doubt that they will make the connection between your brand messaging and the content you are sponsoring without beating them over the head with it. 

Step 3 – Get More Creative

For publishers, get more inventive and recognize that the best way to accommodate more ads is to create more content. Take some of the pressure off yourself and your advertisers by bringing more native executions to the table, minimizing the need for over the top selling. 

The Internet gives consumers nearly infinite choice; therefore, a great user experience is paramount to drive growth and maintain brand loyalty. Publishers, advertisers, and consumers all win when we learn to strike the right balance.

Make the audience the No. 1 priority and cultivate integrations  they find entertaining, informative and relevant.

Let’s all hit the reset button and create brand messaging and advertising executions that put the user experience at the top of the priority list.


4 comments about "Ad Blockers: It's All Of Our Fault".
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  1. Rick waghorn from addiply, March 25, 2016 at 9:09 a.m.

    And what's the big plan for Li Ka-Ching and carrier level ad blocking?

  2. Jay Fredrickson from Fredrickson Services Inc., March 25, 2016 at 11:06 a.m.

    Game, set, match for most online display advertising.  It was ok while it lasted, but no one will miss it. 

  3. Craig Mcdaniel from Sweepstakes Today LLC, March 25, 2016 at 5:10 p.m.

    I have been asking for one thing that can't be blocked. This is coded text link URL's ads. Google AdSense has refused to get into the text link business because they would have to start up a Ad Network Agency. This is more about the control and keeping their monopoly intact and staying out of the CPA business. Now most of the onlines ads are going through either Google AdSense or the newer RTB's. Very few quality ads can be found in the ad networks.

    I have worked with a number of major brands directly or their ad agencies, marketing companies and even attorneys. Not only do we run their text link sweepstakes at a much low cost, I can guarantee that if a member is interest in seeing their "Desciption page" for their sweep, it can not be blocked. From this page the member can click onto their sweep. So we also have Native ads for their sweeps.

    Even this week, I got somewhat disappointed by the lack of understanding that the coded text link URL is what makes the ad to be successful, not the JPEG banner. Now the people pushing for Native Ads still don't get it. The publishers need the coded text links so we can get paid whether it through an ad network or directly through the brand. To many people in this industry have no idea how to make things work but it is so simple.  The problem is few understand the banners, coded text link URL's and Native ads really work. the trouble is most don't believe that target marketing works on the internet. It does.

    If you want to know why will get more Facebook sweepstakes entries than Facebook does, contact me.
    Craig McDaniel

  4. Steve Baldwin from Didit, March 26, 2016 at 11:48 a.m.

    I can't fault the ad industry for failing to stop the tide of bad online advertising. The IAB has no police power. All it takes is a handful of bad actors to make the user experience miserable enough for users to ban ads entirely. The solution appears to be coming from the networks themselves: FB and Google, whose new standards (Instant Articles/AMP) put advertising in a cage by forbidding arbitrary Javascript (the cause of so much user sorrow).  

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