Adblocks: what if Internet users are shaping the future of online advertising?
There is no doubt that the phenomenon of adblocks is shaking up the world of online advertising. While the French are now 36% (vs. 30% in January 2016, source Adblocks Barometer carried out by Ipsos Connect for IAB France – October 2016) to use an ad blocker on their computer and that is estimated at nearly 36 billion the shortfall in the world for site editors in 2016 (estimates made by Page Fair and Adobe), how should the sector reinvent itself? This notable evolution for both publishers and e-commerce sites could well redefine marketing strategies and with them, monetization techniques on the Internet.
By preventing a significant portion of a site’s advertising traffic from showing, adblockers, in response to the exasperation of Internet users disturbed by too much advertising pressure, sowed a wind of panic among publishers, thus upsetting the economic model based on the sale of space in the service of free content. More and more Internet users are using these ad blockers for more serene browsing on the Internet. More serene but far from inconsequential.
Mobile, the advertiser’s new El Dorado
Mobile is now proving to be a territory highly coveted by advertisers, almost devoid of any use ofadblockers. The smartphone, with advertising efficiency measures sometimes equivalent to the computer, is one of the best channels to allow advertisers to run high impact campaigns. But this situation could evolve faster than we think since we are already seeing the activation of tools similar to those present on the desktop, like Free which offers an option capable of blocking advertising on mobile devices.
If it is to continue to exist and develop, mobile advertising will have to learn the lessons of the past and reinvent itself so as not to be perceived as “parasitic”. Indeed, today, if the adblocks know such a craze, it is partly because it was too present. In question, banners, interstitials and pop-ups considered too intrusive and too repetitive but also and especially disturbed navigation because of the often heavy advertising content to load.
The future of online advertising, a renewed and diversified digital experience
To continue operating on the basis of a free business model, publishers have for too long favored the selling price of their placements rather than a relevant and targeted selection of advertisers. What if advertising finally revised its founding principles to reinvent itself? The success of Native Advertising illustrates this “renewal” of advertising. By delivering contextualized formats, this new advertising genre manages to adapt to better assimilate visually into the world of the publisher site. Nielsen Institute (Nielsen study “Global Trust in Advertising” (2015)) noted that the Native Advertising attracted twice the eye of the Net surfer than the traditional banner.
Moreover, when we know that 28% of users say they are ready to deactivate their adblock if the advertising policy is “reasonable” and that 37% of French people would like the advertisements to be better contextualized (source: Adblocks Barometer produced by Ipsos Connect for IAB France – October 2016), we can think that a compromise is not not far from being found between, on the one hand, the economic expectations of publishers and advertisers, and on the other, the browsing comfort of Internet users.
Take up the challenge of advertising acceptance
Advertisers and publishers must now work together on optimizing advertising displays and reading comfort at the risk of seeing the emergence of a two-speed Internet. Take the example of e-commerce. There is a form of risk for e-merchants since the low price policies that characterize them are often made possible thanks to the income from the sale of advertising space. In their sector, the observed increase in the use of adblocks is not as spectacular but remains nonetheless notable: the share of online transactions carried out on browsers with a adblock activated from 22% in 2015 to 23% in 2016, an increase of 5.2% according to the Webloyalty Panel. This difference can be explained in particular by a temporary deactivation of adblocks by some online shoppers; this phenomenon is observed in 59% of Internet users questioned (source: Adblocks barometer produced by Ipsos Connect for IAB France – October 2016).
Thus, if the idea of an Internet without advertising may appeal at first glance, in practice it represents a real threat for the entire web ecosystem! To eliminate massively online advertising would amount to passing on a considerable shortfall in prices. It is therefore up to publishers and advertisers to regain the confidence of Internet users through a more suitable, responsible and coherent advertising strategy at the risk of jeopardizing an entire economy.
Rodolphe Oulmi is the Deputy Managing Director of Webloyalty France.
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