This week, on the heels of IAB’s newest research report titled “Ad Blocking: Who Blocks Ads, Why, and How to Win Them Back,” industry influencers and heavyweights across the advertising landscape have been weighing in on the report and its findings.
According to the IAB, 26% of desktop users and 15% of mobile consumers now use blockers to remove ads from publishers’ websites.
For an insightful and unique take on the report, MMW caught up with Mark Bauman, CEO of ReviveAds — a new ad block prevention tool — for an exclusive chat.
So what did Bauman, an expert on ad blocking technologies and policies, have to say?
“The report highlights the inconsistencies between consumers vs. publications and the ad agencies that represent them,” he tells MMW. “Sure it covers the the growth of ad blocking, which increasingly threatens publishers, advertisers and consumers — publishers because it reduces ad revenues; advertisers because it makes it more difficult to drive traffic and sales through online advertising; and consumers because if publishers are losing revenue they will resort to paywalls and subscriptions that will require consumers to pay for content that they used to receive for free. But it shows a lack of understanding of a consumer and their not willingness, but their laziness to remove something they’ve already taken the time to install. What do they gain from now removing an ad blocker if the ad blocker already gives them something in return?”
“The report also found that a vast majority of consumers who use ad blocking software, could be convinced to uninstall said software,” Bauman says. “This can help stunt the growth of ad blocking and even potentially reverse it. This could help publishers recoup ad revenue, ensure that advertisers are reaching customers and, potentially, prevent them from reverting to paywalls and subscription models. Which logically will work, but only for a small % of the consumers no matter what you provide to them or promise them in exchange.”
To help publishers combat lost ad blockers, the IAB is suggesting that they limit access to content for ad-blocking visitors, but only display respectable ads that don’t affect the consumer experience, e.g., ones that slow down the website or auto-play sound or video. This is something that some publishers, like Wired, Forbes and, most recently, Financial Times, have done. However, for this to truly dissuade consumers from using ad blockers, many more publishers will have to ban together and follow suite.
“It’s much harder for a consumer to boycott a dozen sites versus one,” Bauman argues. “How ad blockers work is you enable it for all or none, you have the OPTION to disable it for an individual site, but to convince that consumer to take that action, and even to get the consumer to understand that’s a capability is a chore in itself. If you can convince the consumer you will be responsible with your advertising, maybe it doesn’t slow down their computer, or pop sound, what about after they click that ad and then get some ad on decreasing their mortgage which results in maybe a bad experience, hundreds of calls from mortgage lenders and possibly a trip to the bank, or results in it being a scam. What about the consumer that doesn’t want ads for that reason? They simply don’t understand that content can’t be completely free, and no matter what you offer them or do to be responsible in your advertising, they still don’t want them if they have an ad blocker. So do you try to curve the consumers thinking and some action they’ve already taken and gotten their reward, or do you simply go around it, and make it clear to them, if you want to come to my site, you will get ads, I won’t keep you from coming, but I also won’t allow you to block my advertising that fuels the content you’re consuming for free.”
The bottom line?
“I would also note that while this is a step in the right direction for publishers to recoup ad revenue, it’s not the most effective – at least at present,” Bauman concludes. “According to internal, publishers that have employed this strategy have only recouped about 3 to 10 percent of ad revenue depending on the type of site and their connection with their customer. Having a connection with your customer is required to have them change their mind on such an effortless piece of software. Whereas, publishers that have employed software that prevents ad blocking have witnessed returns of 20 to 30 percent, which is the % of traffic and ad revenue they lost, meaning a 100% of ad revenue lost to ad blockers. A big difference from 3-10% to 100%.”
“Given that mobile is the fastest growing medium for ad blockers, and that some service providers and carriers are making phones stocked with ad blocking software, mobile ad revenue is most at risk,” he adds. “Given that it’s most at risk, it has the most to gain, if two-thirds of mobile ad block users were to stop using them. We have a solution that bypasses ad blockers across all devices including mobile, and the new mobile phones and carriers that carry them. China recently put a ban on Ad blocking software, as that can and will create a too much of a disrupt within advertising which is the lifeblood of industries as important as the news, as well as human interaction and communication as un important for purpose but for the average person as a blog or interest site. How do you outweigh what is more important, you can’t, but you can support them all through focusing on responsible advertising and limiting the reach and potential of ad blockers.”