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Adblocking will 'reinvent advertising'

News, 07 September 2015

NEW YORK: As the debate about ad blocking gathers pace, one industry figure has suggested that, rather than complaining, advertising practitioners should embrace the new opportunities that will arise.

Barry Lowenthal, president of The Media Kitchen, a media buying agency, confessed to installing ad blocking software on his browser and to being "shocked" at how much better the experience was.

"As someone who works in advertising, this is troubling and freaking scary," he wrote in Digiday. "But I think the possibilities and the inevitabilities are even more exciting."

He pointed out that in one sense this was nothing new. "We've had to reinvent advertising for mobile, and we're going to reinvent advertising when we all start blocking ads," he said.

Another industry figure was also dipping her toe for the first time into the world of ad blocking and finding it wasn't so bad.

Research analyst Joanna O'Connell admitted that while she spent her days thinking and writing about the challenges and opportunities in the digital advertising industry, "I don't always get a chance to experience first-hand some of the phenomena I tackle in my research".

Her first day of an experiment in using adblocking software had felt a little strange but she quickly stopped wondering about the missing ads. "I literally stopped even contemplating their existence. I started forgetting there were ever ads in the first place."

Ultimately, she argued, control should lie where the needs and desires of advertisers, publishers and consumers overlapped. "But in the meantime, maybe we should just make less crappy ads."

Digital-native publishers like Mic, Vox Media and Quartz are placing their bets on native advertising and shunning the world that ad-tech has created.

"What the programmatic ad community has built is not going to work," according to Chris Altchek, Mic CEO.

"It's not going to work because of AdBlock," he told Advertising Age. "It's not going to work because a lot of traffic is going to stay inside of Facebook and Apple News now. So a lot of what mobile advertising was built on is going to go away."

He explained that almost all of the ad campaigns on Mic included branded content, either text or video. "That type of marketing is not blocked by AdBlock," he said.

Data sourced from Digiday, Ad Exchanger, Advertising Age; additional content by Warc staff