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IAB chair lays out digital ad challenges

News, 12 February 2015

PHOENIX, AZ: Slow loading speeds and the continued rise of ad blocking tools are among the main issues facing digital marketers in 2015, the new chairman of the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) has argued.

David Morris – who is also chief revenue officer at CBS Interactive – discussed these subjects at the IAB's Annual Leadership Meeting 2015 in Phoenix, Arizona.

As he drilled down into the problem of slow-loading brand messages, Morris reported that ads often lag two or three seconds behind the content which brings users to a site.

As a result, when users scroll through or leave a page, publishers and advertisers miss the chance for exposure.

"We all want the data and real-time targeting capability," he said, "but if the ads are too slow, and hurt the user experience, no one wins." (For more, including the challenges relating to video, viewability and online standards, read Warc's exclusive report: New IAB chairman: content is king in an imperfect kingdom.)

One short-term fix, he suggested, is for publishers and media agencies to work together and create ads that are both effective and deliverable.

In outlining various additional challenges which members of the interactive ecosystem need to address, the CBS executive referenced the on-going growth of tools blocking digital ads.

This software leads to "lost viewable impressions and lost revenue", and thus has profound implications for publishers and brands.

Said Morris: "There is no business plan in media that distributes expensive content at no charge and ad-free."

Given millennials are among the primary users of this software, it is likely most will eventually tap equivalent solutions on mobile.

More publishers must, therefore, "push back" against this technology, albeit in a way that doesn't alienate their target audience.

"While some browser makers and ad blocking companies believe they are facilitating user choice," Morris said, "they are actually depriving site owners – not just big companies like my own, but small blogs and independent sites – of their opportunity to earn income and the ability to communicate to consumers.

"Ad blocking constrains communications and ultimately narrows consumer choice."

Data sourced from Warc