Find ads annoying? Here’s the dangerous truth about ad blockers
On behalf of ad industry pros everywhere, here’s the rant that we wish ad block users could hear…
We’ve all been caught off guard by annoying online ads. They can pop-up out of nowhere, distract you, rattle you, and downright attack you. You wanted to enjoy those animal pictures in peace or read about your future journey in an autonomous car. Instead you’re figuring out how to stop that loud voice coming out of your speaker.
We get it! We’re consumers too. We understand why ad blocking is on the rise.
But we’re here to tell you, fellow internet users, that ad blocking makes no sense. Nope. In fact, it’s making matters worse.
You see, not all ads are created equally.
Some websites are less concerned about return users. Viral video and gaming sites, for example, are often guilty of hosting disruptive ad formats. However, many of the premium publishers we work with here at FirstImpression.io, from news to sports and entertainment sites, care about your user experience. We create advertising formats for them that are customized to the user’s preferences and blend in with their page layouts. Quality publishers really want you to keep returning to their website!
Now here’s the crux of the problem:
Ad blockers don’t distinguish between websites with too many high impact ads and websites with fewer, less disruptive ads.
Quality websites want to create a positive user experience while still making enough money to pay writers and produce awesome content. Seeing ads is the price we’ve long paid for this “free” content that we all love. Advertising makes the internet go round.
Until now. According to the IAB (Interactive Advertising Bureau) over 20% UK adults and over one third of US adults now use ad blockers. That equates to millions of dollars in lost advertising revenue. Desperate to compensate for this loss, some major publishers are trying various tactics. Forbes has stopped ad blocking users from accessing all its content in order to reduce and prevent ad blocking. The New York Times is heavily promoting its paid subscriptions. The Guardian is asking for reader donations, Wikipedia-style.
However, the vast majority of publishers are not influential enough to charge customers for content. Their very existence is under threat.
You’d be amazed at how much pressure the publishers we talk to are under. Preserving a great user experience is becoming harder as ad blocking increases. Popular websites are struggling to generate the same revenue from fewer readers. Journalist jobs are threatened. Bloggers are desperate to make a livable income. Some publishers are even tempted to fill their pages with more ads in a desperate attempt to survive.
The advertising industry must take this seriously.
We’re now starting to hear respected voices and organizations like the Better Ads Coalition speak out against disruptive ad formats. Based on the Better Ads guidelines, Google Chrome will now start filtering out the most intrusive ads – that’s a big deal. We’re making progress.
Yet, it has got to be a two-way street.
Just as websites have a responsibility to users, users also have a responsibility to the websites they browse on. The scary reality is that if ad blocking continues to rise, many of our favorite websites will not survive.
Punishing good and bad websites alike with the same ad blocker might feel good in the short-term, but friends, it is a dangerous road to take. No ads could soon turn into no free online content.
Disable your ad blocker, please.