Commentary

Less-Interruptive Ad Formats May Lead To Less Ad Blocking

With ad-blocking conversations in high gear, publishers are looking for emerging, engaging and non-interruptive ad formats. Is there such a thing as a non-interruptive ad? Maybe.

Vibrant Media is just one of many companies developing new ad formats that are less-interruptive and that will, perhaps, make people less likely to block ads. In the last few weeks, Vibrant launched a user-initiated out-of-stream ad format it calls In-View in the U.K. It plans to launch the format in Germany and the U.S. in coming weeks. Vibrant has a network of 6,500 publishers globally.

What makes InView different from most in-feed formats is that the ad launches when the user initiates it. Consumers mouse, tap or hover over a word in an article that they’re interested in, and the ad unit is displayed. This makes the experience more contextually relevant for consumers, because essentially, they're volunteering their interest and are more likely to click on the ad—there’s an opportunity for a higher response rate. The ad is positioned as a natural break within content consumption, and it doesn’t take the reader away from what they’re enjoying until they choose to move on.

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“Publishers want to make money but they don’t want to upset their readers because the readers can skip and block ads. You have to be more sensitive to the reader. We’re trying to do that with this format,” said Craig Gooding, founder and executive chairman, Vibrant Media.  Gooding said that the idea behind the new ad format was to create a new native unit within the page. In-View identifies a word that’s most likely a trigger point, which readers use as a way to explore the content they’re reading.

“We’re known for in-text advertising. We wanted to create a unit within the editorial content that’s contextually relevant and is initiated by the user,” Gooding said. In addition, he said In-View can live within  any type of content, editorial or branded.

In terms of viewability, Vibrant is touting In-View’s ability to accommodate brands’ diverse budgets, audiences and desire for various levels of direct response, attention and engagement. Ad campaigns only display when a user intentionally initiates the format and the technology keeps 100% of the ad unit in view.

“We’re in a tug of war right now. Advertisers want more viewable inventory, and the publishers want to maintain their yield, but they’re being forced to place more ads above the fold,” Gooding explained. “We’re trying to say, let’s have a ‘less is more’ approach and not carpet-bomb our readers. Let’s allow them to initiate an ad when they want to see it, and use contextual and audience targeting to deliver a relevant experience. If a user gets to choose when they want to see an ad and it’s relevant, it diminishes the need to block an ad,” he said.  This sounds like a sensible view.

As for In-View, the non-video ad formats will mostly be sold on a cost-per-click basis, while those that incorporate video will be sold on a cost-per-completed-view basis. All In-View ads can be purchased programmatically.  Contextual targeting capabilities can be added on to the buy.

9 comments about "Less-Interruptive Ad Formats May Lead To Less Ad Blocking".
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  1. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, June 9, 2016 at 9:53 a.m.

    Ad blocking is not aimed at particular ads but at all ads once a user gets so fed up with the disruptive barrage and finally calls it quits. So how do you correct that by getting some ads to be less intrusive? If you let user's decide whether they wish to see an ad, what percent of the target group will comply per occassion---.5%,1%, 1.5%? And howwill they decide whether they want to see the ad? Will they be offered a short "preview"?

    I have no doubt that those few users who opt to look at a given ad will be far more receptive to its message and more likely to buy the product than those who don't. But the trade-off is the minimal reach that opt-in mandates. This may work very well for a direct response campaign---but I doubt that it's appropriate for a branding effort.

  2. Bob Gordon from The Auto Channel, June 9, 2016 at 10:58 a.m.

    Old format we used it starting in 2003...what am i missing?

    http://www.theautochannel.com/news/2013/01/26/063984-green-lines-are-back-green-lines-are-back.html

  3. Tobi Elkin from MediaPost, June 9, 2016 at 11:07 a.m.

    Thanks for pointing that out, Bob. New spin on an old format?
    Ed, I think this format is worth a look and a try. If any advertising is to succeed in an era of escalating rates of ad blocking, formats like this one will be important. Technology continues to evolve on this front.

  4. Neil Mahoney from Mahoney/Marketing, June 9, 2016 at 11:35 a.m.

    I agrre that intrusive ads deserve to be blocked.  Many magazines carry news items about products & services.  News sites could do the same.  Also subheads that appear between paragraphs in news stories aren't that intrusive,  E-Publishers could use more of them.

  5. Chuck Lantz from 2007ac.com, 2017ac.com network, June 9, 2016 at 11:57 a.m.

    There's an old, and sort of obscure saying that goes; "You can't keep all the dogs from barking", and it applies to this subject.  Unless this ad presentation concept is somehow able to slip under the ad-blocker radar, won't it be blocked along with all the other garbage ads?  

    Aside from that, isn't this a rehash of Adword?  

  6. Craig Gooding from Vibrant media replied, June 9, 2016 at noon

    Hi Ed. i agree that our format alone wont change the desire of users to block ads but its a step in the right direction and hopefully other formats will follow suit.
    a less is more approach is needed. As for scale showing our ads 10 times less than other formats but achieving 10 x results gets the advertiser and the publisher to the same place as standard ads but saves 90% of the uninterested users from being subjected to ads they dont want. The launch will be across 6000 sites and 400 million uniques so there is plenty of scale for brands.

  7. Craig Gooding from Vibrant media replied, June 9, 2016 at 12:06 p.m.

    Hi bob
    thanks for using our legacy product. in-view uses our contextual targeting and user initiation we are known for but places the ads natively in the content rather than over it. It is designed for premium editorial environments where we dont want to obscure the content in any way hopefully you will give it a go it generates great cpms for publishers and strong metrics for ad partners

  8. Douglas Ferguson from College of Charleston, June 9, 2016 at 1:09 p.m.

    I must admit that this "natural break" method of advertising from Vibrant is a very good idea. And I hate everything ad-related  :-) 

  9. Paolo Gaudiano from Infomous, Inc., June 9, 2016 at 1:50 p.m.

    Tobi, thank you for another interesting story. Craig, I too was perplexed as to how this differs from your original format. I understand that it's in-line instead of hover-over. But does the inline content appear (perhaps shifting editorial content aside) in response to user actions, or is it somehow always there?

    Also, one thing that I found so annoying about the original Vibrant/Kontera format was the fact that it was activated even if I simply passed my mouse over a word. Is it possible with your new format for instance to have the text visibly change color or get highlighted, but no promotiona content appears UNLESS I the click or tap? Otehrwise my suspsicion is that people will still find it really annoying and will quickly learn go navigate around the tagged words.

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