There is currently a debate in the digital advertising world over the use of ad blockers and the effects they may have on the industry. Here is a quick snapshot of what it is and what you should know...
What are Ad Blockers?
- Ad blockers are tools or plugins designed to block malware ad advertising on websites. AdBlock and Adblock Plus, (which are not related, despite the names) are arguably the two most popular.
- Both cover a wide swath of the browsers available: Firefox, Chrome, Internet Explorer, Opera, and yes, Apple's Safari. Essentially, these plugins block HTTP and HTTPS requests, keeps a running list of the addresses of these known advertisers and make sure the banners, widgets and Flash objects don't show up from those ad networks.
Example of an Ad Blocked Browser:
- Not only are banners removed but sponsored posts, or native content, is as well. It can block pre-roll on YouTube and wipe out sponsored stories on Facebook.
Zooming Out, Bigger Picture Perspective
- This is something that the industry is well aware of and is monitoring. As the digital industry is continually going through many changes, Ad Blocking is one that we believe will work itself out.
- The positive is that advertisers are not losing any money, they are simply not showing ads on sites where Ad Blockers exist so advertisers are not in danger. It’s the publishers that are losing the ad dollars and may ultimately result in smaller publishers going out of business (ex: mydadsblog.com, mykidiscool.com). The Facebook’s and MSNBC’s of the world will survive just fine.
- Zooming out we can look at the Nielsen situation to level set; they provide ratings credit to a Live +3 & Live +7 – meaning shows that are DVR’d still apply to overall ratings numbers. It’s interesting how situations that have already happened in traditional media all of a sudden become a big deal when applied to digital!
- Ad blocking is a “watch and see” situation and most likely will work itself out with a market solution that keeps publishers in business and consumers secure with privacy and user experience.
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