COMMENT 

Ad blocking: it’s not over

James Evelegh's editorial from today's edition of InPubWeekly.

By James Evelegh

Ad blocking: it’s not over

At the AOP Convention yesterday, a session was devoted to ad blocking. It would seem that, following a period of dash-for-the-lifeboats panic a few years ago, a sense of complacency has set in. It wasn’t as bad as we all thought, we’re still here, let’s move on.

That’s a big mistake. AOP’s Dilip Shukla: “Not all publishers are aware of how much revenue they are missing out on. Ad blocking is a significant and growing threat to premium publishers’ revenues.” These are being hit by many millions of pounds each year.

A show of hands revealed an alarming lack of awareness and sense of urgency.

The panel discussion threw up some good advice, which I paraphrase: 1. Wake up and smell the coffee; this is a BIG deal. 2. Appoint someone in your organisation to take responsibility for it. 3. Sort out your analytics. Many publishers have no idea as to the scale of the problem they face. 4. Get your own house in order; ultimately bad ads are the reason people use ad blockers, so make sure your own ads adhere to best-practice. 5. Communicate with those visitors who use ad blockers. Explain to them why serving ads is part of a fair value exchange and perhaps bar them from your site unless they enable ads. After all, what use are those visitors to you?

With the 18-24 age group being the biggest adopters of ad blocking software, and the ad blocker companies themselves beavering away, with fundamentalist zeal, to eliminate all ads (except their own), this problem needs a proactive response from publishers. But, as Dilip pointed out, the good news is that all advances in this area go straight to the bottom line.