New Ad Units Will Empower Publishers To Block The Blockers

Interesting to see that Jeep is claiming that a new ad unit from InSkin Media is working well, offering 95% viewability and a click-through rate of 2%. The Page Skin Edge unit, as it's being called, is effectively a thin slice of banner and skyscraper combined.

The idea is that while it takes up the slice of the screen at the top and to the right, it doesn't cover any content and so should not frustrate users enough to install an ad blocker. In fact, the digital advertising company goes as far as to suggest that because it doesn't appear to interfere with the content frame, it is a viable means of getting around ad blockers.

It's a shame, then, that there are no figures available to back up this claim of getting around ad blockers. It's a reasonable assumption that something that doesn't cover content will not be blocked as frequently as a unit that does, but when I checked with the company, this impact had not been measured.

The big metric that Jeep and InSkin Media are talking up is a claim that they got an average in-view time of 43 seconds. It's not entirely surprising because -- let's face it -- if you've got a compelling piece of content, a thin skyscraper leading up to a thin banner is likely to be in view for a long time. Nevertheless, the figures are impressive and any brand looking at building awareness on mobile would find them to be of interest.

What is missing, of course, apart from any proof that the unit does get through blockers, is any kind of ROI on how much the units cost and whether or not they really do get past ad blockers. Viewability for a larger-than-normal unit is bound to be more impressive than a smaller spot, but then presumably that has a cost impact too. So brands will have to do the digging and do the maths.

More importantly, for me, this is a sign that the ad industry can come up with mobile ad units that are big enough to have an impact yet don't overlay the content the person has gone to an app mobile site to consume. Brands and publishers will have to make a call on whether the large unit impinges on content enjoyment -- but at least there's a decision to be made to balance the advertiser's need for impact and the reader's requirement not to have to click to remove boxes or wait for timers to count down before they can get to their content.

That's why it's important that InSkin Media is pointing out that the ad, in its opinion, fits in with the IAB UK's LEAN principles, which mean it is completely reasonable for publishers to turn around and ask people to disable an ad blocker if they want to consume content. 

To be honest, that is pretty much all the industry can do -- put up compelling content, support it with ads that are not intrusive and then insist ad blockers are switched off if that compelling article, image or video is to be seen.

I'd be a lot more supportive of this particular ad unit if they had taken the very obvious step of backing up a claim of being more likely to get around ad blockers than other units if they had measured and demonstrated success. ''

Nevertheless, it's a sign that the spots are coming through that give impact and don't cover up content and so free up publishers to take to the front foot in the battle against digital shoplifters.

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