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DCN issues ad blocking guidance

News, 24 May 2016

NEW YORK: Publishers and advertisers who have been hit by the growing use of ad blocking software would benefit from building on practices already offered by some in the industry, according to a leading trade body.

Digital Content Next (DCN), the industry group that includes many of the world's leading media organisations among its members, held discussions earlier this month with 25 representatives from companies that included ESPN, Google and Havas Media.

Their aim was to draw up advice to help publishers and advertisers reach consumers who are at least open to some form of advertising rather than those who reject ads completely.

"There's [a] significant and growing audience in the US that can't be reached right now by advertising, and they have to be part of the discussion," said Jason Kint, DCN's CEO, in comments to Digiday.

He said many people do not have a fundamental problem with advertising, but instead with the way it is delivered.

Following the discussions, the panel of representatives came up with three specific recommendations that built on efforts already under way in the industry, such as those from the Interactive Advertising Bureau.

The guidance said that users should have access to feedback tools so they can reject or complain about advertising, which is a feature offered by social media networks Facebook and Reddit.

Secondly, publishers are advised to restore a limited number of premium ads on blocked sites, which is something Forbes and other publishers do by offering an ad-light experience.

The third recommendations called on publishers and advertisers to commit to a maximum page-load time standard, which Google offers already with its Accelerated Mobile Pages.

DCN also said that the blocked web may provide opportunities for the industry to establish a new form of advertising. For example, contextual targeting could be used instead of tracking, and measurement could focus more on value than low cost.

Commenting on DCN's findings, Alanna Gombert, SVP for technology and ad operations at the IAB, said: "We applaud DCN's efforts to encourage better publisher economics, better metrics, and improved user choice as ways to mitigate the effects of ad blocking.

"We encourage publishers, agencies, and marketers to continue to test these ideas, and to adopt the L.E.A.N. and D.E.A.L. strategies to create better long-term user experiences and mitigate the short-term impact of ad blocking."

Data sourced from Digiday; additional content by Warc staff