The Ad Blocking Conversation Continues for Subscription Websites in 2017

New changes are coming globally for subscription websites using ad blockers

Ad blocking has become a big topic for subscription websites building audiences, as well as other digital media brands.

As this topic continues to be popular, we’re seeing new changes coming forth.

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To start, Forbes is reporting on a decision made in the European Union regarding ad blocking. “In a significant victory for online publishers struggling to find and maintain revenues, the European Union is proposing that publishers can deny content to visitors who refuse to switch off their ad blockers.

“Last week, the E.U. waded into the ongoing dispute between publishers and electronic privacy groups by proposing a reform that, while ensuring users “the freedom to install software on their devices that disables the display of advertisement,” would nevertheless permit websites to detect a visitor’s ability to receive all their content – including ads.”

The article continues with this summation: “In short, publishers could legally prohibit ad blockers, as a number of major publishers do now.”

Of course, ad blocking is a touchy subject. Some internet users love it while internet businesses do not. An article from Motherboard looks at some of these specifics. “Getting around ad-blockers could open the dam for a lot of money, especially for struggling industries like free training (think sites like Coursera) and gaming websites. Facebook’s decision last year to create tamper-proof ads that can’t be removed by ad-blockers is expected to yield an additional $720 million this year in advertisement revenue for the social media giant, according to the PageFair analysis.

“To see the whole problem, you have to look at how the internet is affected by ad-blockers, Rua said. It’s a matter of whether the internet can continue to remain free and open to anyone. “There’s billions being lost across the industry,” he said. “Nine out of 10 sites that people visit are free, and that’s only because of advertisements working.””

Of course, there are advertising alternatives for publishers who want to get the most from their digital strategies. There are ways not to lose to the ad blockers, and TNW shares some strategies that we agree with, including native ads and subscription services.

“Native ads are also often built into the web page’s fabric, it is a different technical challenge than normal blocking. This in and of itself makes it more difficult for ad blockers to differentiate between content.

“Say what you want about native ads and the somewhat blurred lines between journalistic integrity and reader betrayal, native advertising works. But in this day and age of consumer-based content, advertisers need to create ads that gives value to readers.”

We certainly agree with the value of subscription websites. “…consumers have grown accustomed to subscription models thanks to businesses like Netflix and Spotify. The emergence of the pay-per-month business model means consumers can have ad-free content on their own terms.

“But don’t just take our word for it – in 2013 the New York Times reported that they made more money from their subscribers than their advertisers.”

Subscription websites may be the best defense against ad blocking in 2017.


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