POV: Ad blocking Update

Mindshare Point of View

A group of key stakeholders from the World Federation of Advertisers, the World Economic Forum and the Interactive Advertising Bureau Europe met in London recently with other key stakeholders - advertisers, agencies, consumer groups, publishers and a government representative - and issued a four point plan on how to improve digital advertising as ad blocking, intrusive tracking, and poor metrics continue to be an issue. Anti-ad-blocking firm PageFair put together the meeting. 

Details and Implications:

Ad blockers allow consumers to access content for ‘free’ by stripping out the ads.  The way ad blockers generate revenue is by selling data that they gather from your device, charging consumers to use the service or by allowing ads to pass through their blocker based on a fee that a publisher splits with the ad blocker based on what is delivered to the end user.  Although ad blocking is larger on desktop, it will grow on mobile, especially among millennial males.

 There are many reasons why people choose to use an ad blocker, from speeding up page load time to eliminating intrusive and poorly created ads. Regardless of the reason, ad blocking is not going away and the industry needs to do a better job at delivering relevant brand experiences to consumers on mobile and desktop screens. 

All parties at the meeting agreed on four main points:

1.       A user must have immediate tools to reject and complain about advertising

2.       A limited number of premium advertising slots should be displayed

3.       Contextual targeting should be increased to end over reliance on behavioural tracking

4.       Better metrics of advertising success are needed to improve online advertising

 Summary / POV

The holy grail for advertisers is to deliver relevant messages that are not intrusive and that provide consumers a value exchange in the form of content, offers, access and utility that helps them in their daily lives. It is not about just delivering a coupon or awarding additional levels in a game and the brand must give consumers easy access to determine if they want to continue and receive messages.

Think of it like this, in your social feeds you receive recommendations to follow people you may know or share similar interests and you can easily choose to follow or reject that individual. This approach could be cascaded into the world of advertising.

Limiting the number of ads, especially annoying ones, is critical in mobile as the screen is small and personal.

Mobile messages can be powerful if deployed at moments that are relevant and the ability for a brand to own quality content at scale in this way is vital to the health of mobile advertising. 

Yes behavioural and retargeting works, it drives metrics, but it also can be deemed too intrusive. In comparison dynamic ads based on content and location can help drive relevancy in a non-intrusive way.

Although the four points were broadly agreed upon, it will mean nothing if action is not taken.