The Current Internet Advertising Model Is Over
Ad blocking is approaching mainstream use. If the advertising industry doesn't change, in a few years it will hardly be able to reach anyone online. But do they realise this?
David Moore, chairman of the IAB Tech Lab's board of directors and president of WPP Digital isn’t happy. He’s seen the latest figures for ad blockers and he wants something done about it.
“I advocated for the top 100 websites to, beginning on the same day, not let anybody with ad blockers turned on [to view their content]," said Moore. He added that IAB members present had thought it "a good idea but the possibility of pulling it off [was] slim."”
Or to put it another way.
“Hey Mr Publisher, you should stop people from viewing your content because they are blocking my ads.”
The public is increasingly telling the ad industry that it doesn’t want to see their ads. Is the answer to force them to look at ads or is it to change? To offer something the public actually want to see in a way that doesn't degrade the environment its hosted in? The public clearly like the brands and products behind the ads. They follow them on social media, share their content, subscribe to their emails and contribute their own time making content and tributes to their favourite brands. Clearly, there’s no problem with the brands or their marketing in general. The problem seems to be very specifically about the ads.
So what is it people don’t like? A list of some of the main things:
- Interrupted reading experiences from pop-ups
- Slowed down page loading times
- Pages that jump about while ads load causing misplaced clicks
- Increased mobile data usage and costs from ads, particularly autoplay videos
- Waiting 30 seconds before being allowed to watch the video they’ve clicked on
- Irrelevant, untargeted messages
- Security vulnerabilities in Flash, exposing users to attacks from hackers
The cash the ad industry provide publishers is coming at a hefty cost to user experience. Might more people visit these same publishers’ sites if they were more pleasant to browse? It might be time to realise that the advertising model that was thought up for the internet just doesn’t work.
I’m not even going to talk about bot traffic, unintentional clicks/taps, ad blindness, cookie law, privacy concerns and all the other issues internet advertising has right now. Ad blocking is trumping all of those. The internet advertising industry is the proverbial boiling frog, wondering if might have to do something one day about those little bubbles rising up around it. UK use of ad blocking is at 20% right now and grew by 82% in the last year. So in just over 1 year, ads won’t reach half of UK internet users. And that’s the savvier, more internet-literate half. The numbers are even higher in countries like Germany, Greece and Poland. I don’t know why the IAB are even talking about “trying to get ahead of it”. It’s already over.
Nathan Jones is a Digital Marketing professional working for the full service digital marketing agency The Big Group. If you enjoyed this blog, there are many others you can read on our website.