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BizReport : Advertising : August 26, 2016

Expert: How ad blocking can work for brands

No business wants their ad to be blocked by a customer, but that block can give something back to the brand or publisher. Here's how.

by Kristina Knight

Kristina: What are the benefits to ad blocking?

Patrick Hopf - President & Co-Founder, SourceKnowledge: The real benefit of ad blocking is the prevention of wasted ad spend on individuals who aren't receptive to ads. The long term benefit though is that ad blocker adoption rates and subsequent lost revenue will eventually force publishers and bad actor ad tech companies to clean up the ecosystem. That's a long term objective that will need to be monitored the year over year adoption rate of ad blocker software. See it as a vote by users that they're buying into the changes that publishers make. In the past, ad revenue has pushed publishers to accept more and more intrusive forms of advertising based on a misguided understanding of how online metrics work.

Kristina: Could you offer an example?

Patrick: A publisher may choose to allow a full page ad on a user's screen and the advertiser might see a better click-through rate (CTR). But make no mistake - that's a false positive as the potential consumer is probably trying to click away from the ad. Everyone in the ecosystem loses out from this type of experience. The user develops a negative sentiment towards the publisher and advertiser for interrupting their browsing experience. The advertiser may think they are doing a good job, but are actually evaluating the wrong KPIs (such as CTR). Publishers may make some short-term revenue gain, but could also be driving that user to install ad blocking software.

Kristina: Is it time for advertisers as well as publishers to really embrace ad blocking? Why/why not?

Patrick: Ad blocking is best defined as a call to arms. Both publishers and advertisers need to adopt a best practices attitude if they want to counter ad blocking adoption. What isn't being discussed is how do we get that audience back? The solution isn't to create a technical workaround for ad blocking software. If a user hates the way you're communicating to them the campaign still won't be effective. The only real solution is for everyone in the ecosystem to clean their act up and eliminate bad actors. As an industry we need to ask ourselves if we want to be part of the supply chain or the value chain.

Kristina: What are some first steps advertisers and publishers can take in the adoption of ad blocking?

Patrick: Users understand the economics of access to quality content versus commerce. According to Digiday, 70 percent of users hate ads that expand over content and play sound. Another 68 percent have a concern that ads are tracking their behaviour, and 57 percent of users complain of web pages loading slowly. Addressing these pain points would be a significant first step.

Tags: ad blocking, advertising, advertising trends, SourceKnowledge

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