While it's common knowledge no one actually likes ads, it's also common knowledge that consumers generally understand the quid pro quo agreement between advertisers and consumers that allows for the plethora of free content that fills the internet, the airwaves and print. But, according to a recent study conducted by the IAB, many consumers would be perfectly happy to disable their ad blocking software if ads adhered to a few basic guidelines.
The study, conducted by C3Research and entitled "Ad Blocking: Who Blocks Ads, Why, and How to Win Them Back," reveals several practices advertisers can implement that will help to alleviate the use of ad blockers. The practices are:
- Actually preventing access to content with a notice that calls out the consumer's use of an ad blocker
- The elimination of ads that auto-play video or audio where unexpected
- Placing ads on a page in a way that they do not block content
- Insuring ads are not infected with malware or viruses
- Guaranteeing ads do not slow down the user's browsing experience.
According to the study, most hated by consumers are ads that delay or obscure access to websites, long video ads before short video content and ads that travel up and down the page as a person scrolls.
This being an IAB study, the survey asked respondents about the organization's LEAN principles (Light, Encrypted, AdChoice supported, Non-invasive) and found that sites that adopt these principles would have the greatest influence in convincing a person to disable an ad blocker.
Like many surveys that query consumers about technology and the lack of understanding of it, the study found that while 40 percent of people thought they were using an ad blocker, only 26% had ad blocking software installed. Many of these respondents incorrectly believed that their pop up blocker or security software acted as an ad blocker.
Of the study's findings IAB President and CEO Randall Rothenberg said, “This study provides actionable insights and guidance for the entire industry to improve user experience and potentially convince consumers to disable ad blockers. It’s encouraging to see how favorably the IAB LEAN principles were received – confirming that they are critical to the marketplace.”
IAB SVP of Technology and Ad Operations Alanna Gombert added, “The next step in bringing ad blocking consumers back into the fold is the establishment of a LEAN scoring system, which will allow for user experience to be measured against clear-cut benchmarks. The IAB Tech Lab is on track to provide a LEAN scoring algorithm and publish initial LEAN scorecard recommendations by the end of this year.”
Hmm. Ads scored based not only on whether or not they work but also by how much they anger consumers. This could be interesting.
You can check out the entire study here.