The Ad Blocking Dilemma and What We Can Do About It

Ad Blocking is a hot topic among mobile marketers these days, and for good reason. It poses a threat to how we do business, and presents a new set of challenges for those of us in mobile advertising to work around. Should you be paying the ad blockers to get around their service? What about transitioning to a mobile app? The first issue you have to address when talking about ad blocking is how big a deal it truly is to your publication or blog.

A recent study by Tune found that only 11.3 percent of survey participants would pay a dollar per year to block ads. Only 4.5 percent said they would pay a dollar per week. Almost 70 percent said they wouldn’t even pay a penny on mobile ad blocking! So if we want to measure the impact of ad blocking by how willing people are to put their money where the ads are, how much do they truly care? It’s obvious that we’re not yet at the tipping point where mass quantities of people are jumping on board with ad blockers, but what can we do to make them obsolete?

Ad blockers in general are a way to game the system. They are a way around the traditional economy of advertisers providing publications with income in exchange for placement and publicity within their publication. Speaking with CNBC, Keith Weed, the CMO at Unilever, summed it up by saying, “All media, the free media, is paid for by advertising, and of course, if that advertising stream goes elsewhere then the quality of that content will go down. Less funds, less quality content.” This is why we have seen so many changes to the way the traditional “free media” does business. Publishers such as the Wall Street Journal are now fighting back and either requiring user to disable their ad blockers or purchase a subscription to access their content.

Readers are obviously happier with free content, but if the free-to-read model is going to remain in place, changes must take place to how publishers monitor their content. It’s more important than ever for ads to be intuitive and creative, giving users something that will engage them and not bother them as they browse their favorite publications or blogs.

Google and Facebook are at the cutting edge of this push, with AMP and Instant Articles. They’re finding new ways to integrate ads into a native format. With AMP and Instant Articles, there are no slow-loading articles because of ads, and the ads fit seamlessly into the pages. The best part about these platforms is that they don’t cut into your bottom line.

In an odd way, then, both ad blockers and publishers are trying to do the same things: cut down on clutter and improve the user experience in mobile publishing. One of those groups, however, does this without harming the publishers—and therefore the content that users go to access every day on their mobile devices.

At Marfeel we want to make mobile sites as user-friendly as possible for our clients and their customers while still supporting publications, both big and small. This is the reason we were just included in the Forrester report on the effects of advertising in the mobile sphere. Our solution for creating more user-friendly content, developed by working with companies like Google and Facebook, is an effective way to address the problem everyone seems to be trying to address, before it gets even more out of hand.

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