There’s arguably no more divisive debate in Adland at present than around ad-blocking software.
The ‘pros’ argue it’s inevitable anyway and most people hate/don’t pay attention to online banner ads, while the ‘cons’ say websites dependent on ad revenues and not paid subscriptions won’t survive as revenues plummet.
But it’s not necessarily the ads that people don’t want to look at. According to recent research by The New York Times people use ad-blocking software because it chews up data on their phones when the ads appear, not necessarily because they don’t want to look at the ads.
In September, IAB president and CEO Randall Rothenberg told US trade publication AdAge that, “ad-blocking is robbery, plain and simple – an extortionist scheme that exploits customer disaffection and risks distorting the economics of democratic capitalism.”
In August B&T ran a story that reported 200 million people would be using ad-blocking software by the end of 2015 and that would represent $US40 billion in lost potential revenue.
However, there’s a new concerted move to use native ads – ads that look like editorial but are actually paid for – to circumvent the technology.
Yahoo7 boss, Ed Harrison, is a huge fan of native and recently told B&T: “We need to recognise the fact that a lot of publishers need to think hard about the user experience they’re providing and not giving people reasons to install ad-blocking technology in the first place.”
According to US marketing title Marketing Land spends on social media advertising will markedly increase as brands try and avoid ad-blocking software. Which is brilliant news for the likes of Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat and their booming bottom lines.
It says that US firms will spend $23.6 billion on social media campaigns in 2015 and it will increase to close to $US36 billion by 2017. So Aussie CMOs if you don’t have a social media strategy, you need to!
Despite many new devices coming with ad-blocking software as standard some publishers and media outlets already have plans to block the blockers
In the US, Yahoo is already punishing users with the software. The Washington Post is reporting that Yahoo users will be refused access to their emails until they disable the software. Some people who logged into their Yahoo Mail accounts last week were greeted with an ultimatum: “Please disable Ad Blocker to continue using Yahoo Mail.” However, whether this will become official Yahoo policy or merely a trial remains to be seen.
Here in Australia, Channel Nine is also reportedly set to ban the blockers or at the very least charge them for looking at sites and content that would normally be free.
Alex Parsons, managing director of Mi9, Nine’s digital media business said in The Australian: “Ad-blocking software has been with us for some time. However, the introduction to mobile will likely see some increase in their use. We have been blocking content when ad blockers are in use with our video content.
“We advise users that we are an ad-funded model and that they will need to turn their ad blockers off to view our premium content,” he said.