On 15th February 2018, Google Chrome rolled out a revolutionary update which has an inbuilt ad blocker which blocks out all the intrusive ads. This resurrected a great buzz around ad blocking in the programmatic industry.
Ad blockers are special software or plugins designed to block out most types of digital ads. Ad blockers are creating a frenzy among advertisers and publishers alike. So here’s a brief analysis on ad blocking, its impact on the programmatic industry and ways to deal with this mammoth challenge facing the industry.
It started a long time ago…
Users have always tried to escape ads. Hence, ad blocking has been around for quite some time. The seeds were sown during the early years of the twenty-first century when Mozilla introduced the Do Not Track feature, which blocked advertisers from tracking a user’s identity and browser history.
Over time, as the consumption of digital content increased, ads were digitized and ad blocking took more sophisticated forms like ad blocker plugins and in-built ad blocking within browsers. In order to handle ad blocking, it is important to get to the root of the problem.
The rise of ad blockers can be attributed to users’ desire for uninterrupted viewing of the content. The main problem arises when the ads get excessive and drown the content by consuming a major part of the web page, driving the users up the wall.
Such incidences irk the users and they decide to block out all ads using ad blockers. In addition, excessive ads also increase the loading time, slowing down the browsing experience.
However, amidst all this resentment against advertisements, the importance of ads is often downplayed. Ads are a must in the digital ecosystem.
Ads deliver relevant product information to the users. Further, ads facilitate the content to be available free of cost to the users. Often, ads are the only source of revenue for the publishers, making possible the maintenance of the freely available content on various websites.
In the absence of ads, the digital ecosystem will be lopsided and shall perish. Hence, it is in the interest of all the stakeholders in the digital ecosystem, to make relevant and engaging ads.
It is a known fact that ad blocking is costing millions of dollars to the programmatic industry, hampering the entire ecosystem. Advertisers’ budgets are not utilized properly as they are unable to reach out to their customers.
At times, ads are served but are not displayed to the users because of the ad blockers. If advertisers do not have the mechanisms in place to detect such instances, they are incorrectly billed for such wasted impressions. This pushes millions of ad dollars down the drain.
Publishers, on the other hand, have lost substantial revenues to ad blockers. Informa Group’s research arm Ovum predicts losses worth $78 billion in the near future if publishers do not pull up their socks immediately.
This is what publishers should do:
Creating a balance between the content and the ads is the key. There won’t be any ad blockers if there are no intrusive ads in the first place! This seems like a good place to begin with. Next, the publishers can start being open and honest about their revenue models.
Users demand free online content, and often ads are the only means of supporting it. Publishers can let users know this. If the users still do not want ads, publishers can provide an ad-free version of the content for a certain subscription fee.
This can act as an alternative revenue model for the publishers. If the content is engaging enough, users won’t mind paying in exchange for an ad-free content.
On the advertisers’ part, they should focus on creating non-intrusive ads. Ads that blend seamlessly with the format, look and feel of the web page are preferred and hence, not ignored. They also don’t disturb the users while viewing the content.
Such ads are entertaining and add value to the advertisements. They are most likely to immerse the consumers rather than intrude.
These ads should also be highly relevant, in such a way that the users start favoring them, instead of blocking them out. They can give better results as compared to intrusive ad formats like pop-ups and pop-under ads.
Ads are an essential part of the programmatic ecosystem and hence, should not be blocked out. Along with advertisers and publishers, relevant ads are beneficial even to the users. Ad blockers, on the other hand, show no sign of fading off.
Hence, it is required that the industry adapts to this trend and finds a way to strike a balance between the advertisers’ need to reach out to the users, publishers’ needs for revenue and the users’ desire for an uninterrupted experience.
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(Disclaimer: This is a guest post submitted on Techstory by Mr. Ashish Shah, Founder & CEO , Vertoz. All the contents and images in the article have been provided to Techstory by the authors of the article. Techstory is not responsible or liable for any content in this article.)
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