As online advertising has become more popular, ad blocking software programs have also grown in abundance. Adblockers keep websites from showing ads on computers, mobile devices and tablets. In fact, eMarketer reports that almost two out of three Millennials use some type of ad blocking software.
Publishers and advertisers alike are scrambling to figure out what they can do to respond to this crisis. The IAB has even released new ad guidelines to encourage consumers to stop blocking ads.
How Advertisers and Publishers Should Respond
Most advertisers and publishers now acknowledge that they should have put more thought into user experience when it comes to ads, i.e. preventing them from blocking the entire screen or slowing down mobile device load times. It’s too late to do anything about these past faux pas. Instead, it’s time to come up with adequate responses for the future:
- Defining an early standard that allows specific types of ads to be shown will be critical: Google’s senior vice president of ads and commerce Sridhar Ramaswamy recommended that the advertising world come up with a “sustainable ad standard” that would ensure that ads don’t use up too much bandwidth and that ad blocking does not become the standard.
- Encouraging people to opt-in for ads: Publishers must offer reasons for people to opt-in to be shown ads, i.e. special content or offers. Many companies, including CBS, are already experimenting with blocking content for consumers using ad blocking software. This, however, may not be popular with many online users. Others are allowing people to pay for “freemium” services to avoid seeing ads.
- Appealing to consumers: Whatever their reason for using ad-blocking software, most consumers don’t understand is that ad dollars are how many companies pay for programming, whether on the Internet, TV, or radio. Blocking ads has a direct negative effect on the programming they enjoy. Consumers wouldn’t want their favorite shows/publishers cancelled due to lack of budget.
Advertisers and publishers are still coming to a final consensus on how they should react to ad blocking software. Whatever that reaction is, however, it must come soon, or everyone could lose: publishers, advertisers, and consumers alike.