What is IQadnet’s thoughts on ad blocking?
While ad blocking is certainly not a new problem, it is a growing problem for the digital advertising industry. eMarketer released a July study finding 64% of US millennials use an ad blocker on one or more of their devices. Another eMarketer study released in June projected that the total number of US internet users who will be using ad blocking by next year will reach 86.6 million. This is an important topic that IQadnet follows closely, especially with us being an ad network and all. But it’s important to note that IQ is not passively observing this issue. To help our customers overcome ad blocking, we’ve recently made big changes to both our product offering and customer service to deliver the best possible value.
The Ad Blocking Problem
Aside from what IQadnet is doing, addressing this problem requires all parties to question everything we know about digital advertising. There isn’t a shortage of industry players that are working hard to try and solve this issue. Some publishers are resorting to restricting access to content or asking readers to disable their ad blocker. Others are in a technological cat and mouse game to out maneuver the ad blocking developers. So far the developers have managed to stay a step ahead. However, these attempts neither solve the problem for publishers or get at the core of why users are installing ad blockers in the first place.
The big issue at hand is not a technological one, it’s a user experience problem. Many companies will try to look for a technology solution, but it will only result in a temporary fix. For well over a decade, the industry’s reason for neglecting users boils down to greed. As long as everyone was making money, they could afford to turn the other way.
As the money was rolling in, publishers and ad networks did little to address rampant malware and viruses spreading freely across their sites. In the last decade, the average CPM has been falling, but publishers responded by simply adding more ads on every page. When that didn’t work, in some cases publishers and ad networks would manipulate traffic stats. Meanwhile, advertisers were either kept in the dark or just didn’t care to ask about how their ads were being distributed, allowing networks and publishers to maintain the status quo. Signs pointing to the problem have been around for years. It was only when users began installing ad blockers that everyone started to take notice.
Where Do We Go Next
Understanding that the problem is about user experience means the industry will have to work towards solutions that deliver value to users. It’s hard to do that with traditional digital advertising when its prime objective is to get in front of as many eyes as possible in a disruptive manner. Even if an audience can be targeted precisely, the user still receives very little value. This is because the mindset that caused the problem still remains, to disrupt the user’s life in order to convince them to buy a product. How does a solution based on disruption work when ad blockers are being installed to prevent disruption?
While it may seem hopeless, there are promising developments that have been made across the industry. The rise of native advertising and content marketing has shifted the discussion away from disruption. Rather than pushing users to a product or service, brands are now beginning to lure consumers with engaging content. Great examples of this trend can be seen with Pepsi, UPS, and BMW. The advertisers are still promoting products to consumers, but with the added bonus of actually being entertaining. Consumers are now more likely to seek out the product promotions, rather than having to be interrupted by them.
Attracting users rather than interrupting them makes the ad blocking issue irrelevant, but it comes with a price. Creating engaging content requires more effort and collaboration between advertisers, networks, and publishers. Native advertising and content marketing can not be distributed through the traditional networks and processes. New ad networks and processes must be developed to handle the new workflow. Attempting to utilize the old systems will just result in failure. It was this view that motivated IQadnet to launch our newest network this summer, IQ Native.
We concluded that in order to deliver value to our advertisers and publishers, we had to deliver value to consumers as well. As part of this new network, we have formed new, deeper relationships with some of our publishers. We no longer simply post ads on their sites but collaborate with their teams to create customized engaging content for our advertisers. Making these dramatic changes to the way we work was worth the investment because we understood that if we didn’t make these changes, we could no longer offer value in the future.