Digital Ad News: Blocking Still a Stubborn Issue

As it has been all year, the major viewability challenge of our time is making the biggest digital ad news; plus, publishers forming Facebook Live collective?

You don’t need us to tell you that the digital ad news when it comes to anti-ad-block efforts is not necessarily good. The efforts of digital publishers to block ad blockers are being undermined by a prevalence of viewability problems, chief among them software that grows ever more sophisticated in its ability to shield readers from digital advertising.

We wish we could give you good digital ad news about this phenomenon, but we can’t. However, we can tell you that you have recourse: Subscription and membership-based revenue is on the rise, and it could be that online magazine advertising may be a thing of the past, and not integral to your operation.

Of course, that’s a bit like saying Great Whites or opossums are no longer an issue. Great to hear in a one-on-one situation, but not so good for the ecosystem in the long run.

Let’s see what Digiday has to say with recent reporting.

Bad Digital Ad News, Part I

Use of ad blocking programs is on the rise in a big way, Digiday reports.

“The number of people in the U.S. using an ad blocker is expected to balloon to 86.6 million in 2017, according to eMarketer. That’s a staggering increase of 24 percent from this year, where the research company predicts that 69.8 million people will use an ad blocker by the end of 2016,” Jordan Valinsky writes.

“Active ad blocker use, which eMarketer defines as people who access the internet once a month with the tool, is still more prevalent on desktop browsers rather than on mobile because there are more intrusive ads on desktop’s larger screens, and people tend to spend more time on mobile apps.”

Bad Digital Ad News, Part II

And as it gets broader, ad blocking’s cut is getting deeper, Digiday reports.

“The doomsday scenario for publishers is that ad blocking becomes easier, more well known and regularly used. One researcher estimates that if ad blocking rates maintain at their current levels – and publishers do little more to combat ad blocking than they already are – they will lose $35 billion by 2020,” Jessica Davies writes.

“Informa Group’s research arm Ovum believes if publishers continue to respond to the ad-blocking threat with measured approaches, by 2020, revenue losses from ad blocking will be $10.5 billion (£7 billion) in the U.S., and $1.9 billion (£1.3 billion) in the U.K. The silver lining to that steep bill: It’s far lower than the $78 billion in losses Ovum predicts if nothing whatsoever is done to address ad blocking.”

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Slightly Encouraging Digital Ad News

If there’s a silver lining here, it’s that some people might just need some education on ad blocking impact have on digital publishers, for the simple reason that many readers don’t even know that they’re using them, Digiday reports.

“Most of the reporting on ad blocking focuses on the people who deliberately block ads either because they don’t want to see any ads or want to eliminate elements that slow down the web. But there’s another group of people who didn’t necessarily set out to block ads but are doing other things that have the side effect of blocking them. Call them the accidental ad blockers,” Lucia Moses writes.

“Wired, which has been in the ad-blocking trenches for a while, says it sees this happen two ways. There are those who are access the internet through an institutional, governmental, or corporate internet connection and their IT department has put web filtering on their firewall that acts as an ad blocker by blocking JavaScript or entire domains. … On the bright side, publishers have gotten more nuanced with their messaging, asking people to whitelist in exchange for an ad-light experience or support the site financially in other ways — options that also take into account the inadvertent ad blocker, said Brian Kane, COO of Sourcepoint, a startup that provides anti-ad blocking tech to publishers.”

Digital Publishers Band Together for Facebook Video Efforts

Publishers are joining powers to maximize Facebook Live opportunities, Digiday reports.

“While new to the world of Facebook Live, collaborations have long been a go-to social media trick for audience development. Before live video became Facebook’s favorite feature, digital publishers like The Daily Dot, Mic and Bustle were striking partnerships to share each other’s articles on their respective Facebook pages. By doing this so-called social syndication, these publishers quickly widened the number of people who might read their articles,” Sahil Patel writes.

“For now, Facebook Live collaborations are in the early stages. The videos by The Daily Mail/Epicurious has 30,000 views, while the two Daily Beast/Food52 videos have a combined 21,000 views. In comparison, most Daily Mail live videos get between 20,000 and 60,000 views; Food52’s range between 10,000 and 25,000 views; and The Daily Beast’s hover around 10,000 views.”

Which digital ad news are you tracking? Tell us about your forecast in the comments!

To read more digital ad news and other industry trends, visit Digiday.


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