Get a demo Do I subscribe? News sign-up
Print

Publishers consider ad blocking options

News, 22 June 2015

NEW YORK: Viewability and fraudulent traffic are the biggest issues facing digital publishers, but ad blocking is rapidly forcing its way up the agenda, according to a leading industry figure.

David Morris, chief revenue officer at CBS Interactive, told Advertising Age that ad blocking ranged between 5% and 40% at his portfolio of 20 sites. And, in his other role as chairman of the Interactive Advertising Bureau, he said the IAB would be convening a task force later this year to discuss the issue.

Some publishers are appealing to the better nature of their readers, politely asking them to turn off their ad blockers. For example, "Please do us a solid and disable your ad blocker. Thanks for supporting Wired" is the banner message that appears to readers of Wired who run ad blocking software.

This approach doesn't work for most sites according to Sean Blanchfield, CEO of Pagefair, a business which measures how many visitors to a site are blocking ads.

"It takes a lot to get someone to reconsider a default setting, such as AdBlock Plus' default setting of blocking every ad format, everywhere," he told Digiday, adding that the most effective solution is generally to simply prevent users from accessing content unless they turn off ad blockers.

But that is a step too far for Digital Content Next, the trade association for online publishers.

"Blocking the blockers seems like a very short-term, tech-arms-race approach," said CEO Jason Kint. "I've never seen an arms race with consumers end well. It's trial and learning whichever approach is taken."

A third option being explored by startup Sourcepoint is to offer users greater transparency and choice over what they see.

"Content consumers and content creators don't have a transparent transaction that occurs on a regular basis so that each of them knows where they sit in the ecosystem," co-founder Ben Barokas explained to Business Insider.

His solution is to let a publisher allow the user to choose their advertising experience, which could mean, for instance, three ads for three stories, or accepting video ads instead of banners or even taking a survey once a week instead of seeing any ads at all.

Data sourced from Advertising Age, Digiday, Business Insider; additional content by Warc staff