But do tell us what you really think about companies that make ad blockers, Mr. Rothenberg.
It’s understandable why Randall Rothenberg, the president of the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), is frustrated at Adblock Plus. This product, and others like it, are making money from allowing web users to block out advertising. In the mobile advertising world, Apple’s latest operating system for smartphones and tablets will allow developers to create ad blocking software.
So how many people are using ad blockers? According to PageFair, an Ireland-based company that helps web publishers recover revenue lost to ad blockers, the number is large and growing. 198 million people are using ad blockers worldwide, a growth of 41% over the last 12 months. 45% of ad blocking users are in the US.
It’s undeniable that ad blockers put a pinch on publishers, who are already scrambling to keep up with the changes happening to their industry. They also interfere with marketers and ad agencies by diminishing the marketer’s ROI. Behind the practical opposition to ad blockers is more of a philosophical position. Ad blockers break the social contract between media and consumers — the “price” of free content is advertising.
But it could be argued this social contract was already broken by publishers and advertisers disregarding their consumers. Unfortunately, digital advertising is largely uncreative, intrusive, and gimmicky. In some cases, digital ads compromise privacy or take over your browser. So, do publishers and advertisers bear responsibility for the rise of ad blockers?
While the Interactive Advertising Bureau’s Rothenberg talks tough, Scott Cunningham of the IAB is more conciliatory and solutions-oriented.
“We messed up. As technologists, tasked with delivering content and services to users, we lost track of the user experience.” Cunningham goes on to lay out a plan for how the IAB can help digital advertising become less intrusive and more user-friendly. Professionals in the advertising industry also feel ad blockers are evidence of a self-inflicted wound.
Publishers & Marketers Fight Back Against Ad Blocking
How are publishers contending with ad blockers? Some are blocking blocker users from their content. But there is evidence this decreases traffic to the website. Other sites, such as Wired, are asking ad block users to allow ads or pay a nominal fee.
What steps should advertising agencies and marketers take? A recent Advertising Age article highlights two solutions. One is a greater use of native advertising. Native advertising integrates paid advertising content with editorial content on a publisher’s platform. All the major social media networks offer native advertising to marketers and their agency partners. Newspapers and magazines are also increasingly offering more native advertising.
The other solution is to create better advertising. The copywriting great Howard Gossage is quoted as saying, “Nobody read ads. People read what interests them. Sometimes it’s an ad.” If an ad is effective, it will attract attention and leave an impression that stays with the audience. The ad will inspire viewers to share with their friends and associates, and may even compel repeated viewings. Those are the kinds of ads bfw Advertising creates.
bfw Creates Ads That Engage the Consumer
Whether it’s an ad blocker or something else, marketers are always facing challenges. bfw advertising will never recommend overly-intrusive or exploitative advertising that consumers rightfully reject. We will create smart and well-crafted advertising that is both compelling and informative. We will never recommend your marketing budget be allocated towards diminishing returns. We will help you identify your audience, discover where they are, and persuade them to act. In any medium that is desired.
bfw is a tight knit collection of writers, artists, designers, technologists and thinkers who share a common passion for doing great work that makes things happen. For more information call (561) 962-3300 or visit www.gobfw.com.