Without a doubt, one of the topics set to dominate the digital advertising conversation for much of 2016 will be ad blocking. It’s been well documented that at last count there are 198 million active users of ad blocking software worldwide, and that number only continues to rise.
So, should the entire digital ad ecosystem go into full panic mode? Well, not necessarily.
While just a couple of weeks ago, Opera became the first web browser to add an ad blocker, various corners of the digital advertising ecosystem are beginning to fight back. UK publication The Guardian, with its typical politeness had, until recently, taken a decidedly British approach to ad blocking by asking consumers to switch their ad blockers off. Now, the gloves are starting to come off. The Guardian is not only communicating more sternly, with a message of guilt, but also steering them to their membership page.
Following the IAB’s outright take-down of ad blockers at its Annual Leadership Meeting this February, the IAB just issued a useful set of guidelines, specifically designed to help publishers with this pervasive challenge. Included in the guidelines are intriguingly sophisticated measures of guilt, methods to educate consumers as well as technologically savvy ways to combat blocking. Probably less attractive are suggestions such as paying readers to engaging with ads (doesn’t that essentially negate the whole point of monetizing in the first place?!) While their seven suggested approaches vary in how effective they may turn out to be, at least it’s a step in the right direction.
Also from across the pond, UK Post Office CMO Pete Markey recently advocated for the industry raising its creative prowess, to combat ad blocking, while speaking at the ISBA conference.
“Am I worried about where this could end up? Yes. But the challenge I’m taking away for our agencies, media and creative, is how do we keep raising the bar and make sure the content we’re putting out is both relevant and great," said Markey.
Of course, with Flite’s Design Studio, which provides brands and publishers a dynamic, self-serivce platform to create more compelling ad experiences, that’s something we can certainly agree with.