A Better Advertising Experience

August 9, 2016

The IAB study found that 45% of people would be less likely to use an adblocker if ads didn't interfere with a page. In other words, people are tired of bloated Flash ads or sites that block content with popups or interstitials and the use of adblockers are simply a logical response to them. If there were less ads, 29% would be motivated to not use an adblocker and 12% would consider this if the ads were more relevant.

Adblocking has had some positive impacts on publishing by motivating publishers to stop serving annoying ads like pop-ups and interstitials. "We are organically moving towards formats that are more acceptable," Piers North, the Strategic Director of Trinity Mirror Solutions told the Shift audience. "Yet having said that, if you look at the mobile experience, in-specials and pop-ups have had a resurgence. Adblocking is accelerating the need for us to get our house in order to make sure that the ad experience is as good as possible." He noted that pop-ups and interstitials are a short-term play and that if you continue to do that you are going to kill your audience.

A Better Ad Experience

"If you provide website visitors with choice, and that's what we advocate at the IAB and that's where we see the industry going," North said. "We've created the idea of lean standards or lean ads which are much leaner. We are looking to create a charter around that, so we are asking businesses, no matter where you sit, the buy side, sell side, intermediary to sign onto this charter as best practices."

"LEAN stands for advertising and ad operations that are light, encrypted, AdChoices-supporting, and non-invasive," says Rothenberg. "We believe LEAN will be as important to the future of the digital advertising industry as the first IAB Universal Ad Package was to its creation."

Rothenberg says the the IAB intends to make LEAN the foundation of their activities for the foreseeable future. "And among our very first goals is introducing a public LEAN scoring system by which all publishers, all advertisers, and all agencies will be able to measure their activities against rational, reasonable, and consumer-friendly performance benchmarks," he said.

"LEAN is the basis for a sustainable advertising ecosystem. We firmly believe that a combination of LEAN advertising and media, and publisher implementation of detection-notice-choice-and-constraint, will limit the impact of ad-blocking."

"We want to actually give people a choice at the point of access," says North. "You can come into this property and have a range of choices. It might be pay for this content, accept the ad experience, but it will be a better ad experience, or it might be some other form of payment like micro-payments or even a survey in exchange for access to content."

"I think in 5 years ad blocking will continue to exist, but it will be on the fringes because we will have gotten our house in order, delivering a great ad experience and giving people choice," he said. "I also think that we will move more toward native advertising in order to avoid adblockers. Remember, adblocking doesn't kill all forms of advertising."

"As agencies we are already taking significant steps to add value back into that consumer journey," Hickey said. "Let's face it, things like programmatic, launched a few years ago, some of it was done really badly, so we understand that younger people have had really bad advertising journeys and were incredibly annoying. Really good agencies are getting really good at adding value back into that whole journey and also getting much better at the nuts and bolts behind it."

"The major driving force behind adoption of blockers is because users feel that advertisements are intrusive and detrimental to the user experience," says Sam Barker, an analyst for Juniper Research and author of the May 2016 study 'Digital Advertisers Vs the Ad Blockers'. "To make the browsing experience user friendly, advertisers need to find ways to serve ads that do not obstruct the objective of the user. Ad formats such as interstitials and pop-up ads are seen as very intrusive but, on the other hand, native advertisements work very well."
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