Ad Blocking: Where to Next? The Publisher Perspective

Posted by Jade McDade On November 22, 2016

To date Australian publishers have largely made assumptions as to why ad blockers are being used in our market, relying on international studies to help inform our view. With the release of the IAB Ad Blocking in Australia study the majority of those hypotheses have held true. So if we haven’t already been motivated to take action on what we’ve known to date, why should we now?   

The drivers consumers cite for blocking ads are confronting for digital publishers with revenue models heavily weighted to display advertising. Ad formats perceived by consumers as disruptive, rich creative executions heavy in file size and user tailored audience targeting are all in demand products publishers can charge advertisers a premium for, because they deliver results. But if the monetisable Australian audience has already declined as much as 27% (as seen in the IAB Report) through ad blocking adoption, publishers will be forced to look to new ways to monetise content regardless if that figure continues to increase.

In the short term publishers need to move quickly to discourage the uptake of ad-blocking adoption through addressing the key drivers to block whilst simultaneously ensuring continued revenue growth. This can be achieved without negative impact through addressing three key gauges.

1. Quality

Content quality encourages ad-blocking consumers to continue to engage with our sites, through blocking ads they are indicating that the advertising quality value exchange is currently unbalanced. Publishers can:

  • Address virus and file-size concerns through implementing improved QA during creative testing
  • Encourage the creation of quality advertising creative that compliments content and minimises repetitive messaging across different ad sizes and formats.

2. Quantity

Securing advertising real estate in appropriate balance with editorial content can initially be a hard fought internal battle. As a result, publishers are now conditioned to let no ad space go unused.

  • Address consumer concerns about ad clutter by questioning the necessity to fill all unsold impressions with house ads.  Rather, deliver a blank ad space mirroring the ad blocked experience when impressions are unsold.
  • Consider frequency capping ad formats perceived as disruptive, not just per campaign, but per ad product per user per month across your network to minimise the volume impact.
  • Use the IAB ad-blocking detection script to measure exactly how many visitors to your site are using ads blockers and work to put a dollar figure per user to the revenue impact of ad blocking to motivate for action.

3. Quantification

Once publishers can demonstrate that consumer ad-experience concerns have been addressed to some extent the same three core principles of Quality, Quantity and Quantification can be used in delivering editorial messaging to persuade consumers to white list your site or remove their ad blocker completely. 

Without website consumers there won’t be inventory to sell to advertisers and without advertisers, publishers will no longer be able to fund quality content for consumers. The market needs to continually balance the requirements of advertisers and consumers with integrity in order to experience continued revenue growth year on year. 

Download the Ad Blocking Infographic and Report (members only) here.



Jade McDade