So. Facebook’s Q3 earnings call showed that there self-declared Jihad on ad blockers seemed to be working and the social network unlocked a huge amount of ad revenue in the process.
But Facebook’s ability to thwart ad blocking is, of course, seen by other media companies who want to follow suit. And no wonder -- it has been estimated that total global losses through ad blockers will, in 2016, amount to some $22 billion with an increase to potentially over $40 billion worth of potential ad revenue blocked next year. Ad blocking threatens the business models of digital publishers.
Of course there is an ethical conversation to be had there with many people suggesting that ad blockers should be regarded as a tool that should be available to be used by consumer at well. For a publishing company, however, the morals don’t come into it and they are facing an existential threat. As Susan Bidel, a senior analyst at Forrester recently said:
Marketers beware: Ignoring the ad blocker problem today will cost you tomorrow. All but the largest publishers with the deepest pockets evaporate. As it is, the Big Five dominate now: AOL, Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Yahoo generated 60% of total domestic digital ad revenue in 2014. Advertisers pay more to fewer players...With just the slightest push from ad blockers, the vibrant if flawed digital environment turns into an ecosystem that more closely resembles the TV landscape of the 1950s in which advertisers had only three networks to choose from for their reach. Supplier consolidation transfers from the buying community, where it now sits, to the big publishers, who set higher prices and smother innovation in a classic example of limited competition.
Anyway, love it or hate it, the ability to thwart ad blockers would seem to be here to stay, especially if Instart Logic’s new “AppShield Ad Integrity” solution has anything to do with it. The company, which provides speed and security tools for mobile application and website developers, released this solution that helps publishers avoid losing revenue through ad blocking. The solution requires only a simple DNS change to circumvent the ad blocker systems. It also works across display and video advertisements and is transparent to ad delivery and measurement system.
In its defense, Instart Logic is trying to articulate a bit of balance between the various factions in all of this. In its briefing materials, the company states that it believes that what’s needed to solve the ongoing dilemma between digital publishers who want to offer premium content monetized by the right advertising, and visitors who simply want a positive, free and secure user experience, is a holistic approach that: gives a better experience to end users through faster page load times, reduced ads and elimination of annoying ads; provides publishers the ability to preserve the integrity of their websites and mobile apps, ensuring that users see the pages the way they intended; and enables the tools to ensure that publishers are capturing and respecting user preferences, while delivering “acceptable” ads.
“Ad Integrity is a breakthrough capability that’s now part of our existing application delivery service. It enables digital publishers to monetize their sites without complex integrations and enables the continued use of their existing ad technology stack,” said Manav Mital, CEO and founder at Instart Logic. Mital continued, “Premium digital publishers are already using our technology in production and finding that by delivering non-invasive advertising experiences to their visitors they can unlock new revenue without negative reactions.”
For Instart Logic this is a valuable addition to the platform which should see them get some more commercial interest, potentially from prospects and sectors within which they don’t have a large existing footprint.
As to the moral questions around ad blockers, it’s a complex thing. While it is true that content creators should be able to monetize their content how they see fit, and that consumers can choose whether or not to visit such content (and its related advertising), the reality is slightly more nuances. Ads are increasingly robbing from the consumption of online content and ad blockers are a natural enough response to that.
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