In their war against intrusive ads, the famous adblocker Adblock Plus comes bearing surprising news. Along with Google and AppNexus, the creators of this adblocker launched their own automated ads market (Ad Exchange) to support ads that meet their quality criteria. Today I would like to talk about this interesting news, and how it affects the online marketing world.
Adblock Plus’ new ad exchange: Acceptable Ads Platform
During this past month of September, Eyeo, the company behind Adblock Plus (one of the world’s star adblockers) announced the launch of their own online advertising platform on which advertisers can publish “acceptable” ads.
The big news here is that these ads will reach even the users who have installed the adblock. This affects a large portion of Internet users: just in the United States, calculations indicate that more than a quarter of the population have adblockers installed on their computers. Adblock Plus, the most popular of these tools, has 50 million active users, and 300 million downloads.
The new platform - called Acceptable Ads - will undergo strict quality controls. These are some of the requirements to be able to publish ads in this market:
- The ads may not interrupt the reading flow of the content, and should be placed above, beneath or next to the main content.
- The ads should be clearly labelled as such.
- The ads must follow a series of size limitations, and may not occupy more than 15% of the space above the field, or 25% in total.
Furthermore, the new ad market includes some segmentation limitations, to protect privacy and security. Advertisers will have limited information about the users: the domain on which the ad appears, the device, browser, operative system and the geographical location.
As for Adblock Plus users, viewing these new acceptable ads is still optional. Those who do not wish to see any kinds of ads may change their configuration settings and continue to enjoy a totally ad-free experience.
Nevertheless, according to a recent study. Only 25% of adblock users are against all online advertising, the remaining 75% admit to being willing to view some ads to help finance webpages.
What this market seeks to do is to harmonize the interests between advertising distributors and users.
While many of the former have expressed their objection against adblockers for limiting their access to their target audiences and their sources of income, the latter seek to be able to surf the web without their experience being polluted by ads for products that do not interest them in the slightest.
The Acceptable Ads Platform was first launched as a beta test, limited to a handful of websites. During this time the prices for ads increased drastically, as advertisers are extremely interested in accessing an audience as technologically savvy as adblock users.
Eyeo has already included ads from about 700 companies in their list of acceptable ads. According to Eyeo’s Executive Director, Tell Faida, “there are currently two ecosystems of online consumers: those who block intrusive ads, and those who don’t. The Acceptable Ads Platform allows access to the former without changing the way we access the latter.”
What does the new ad exchange mean for online advertising?
As we have already mentioned on this blog, at Cyberclick we are a digital marketing and advertising company who supports adblockers, as we truly believe they have a positive influence in making for a better advertising.
Just as we do not forbid people from changing the channel when ads come on on TV, Internet users should also have the ability to choose what content they would like to view (including the advertising kind).
Which is why we believe this quality Ad Exchange is good news for the industry, as it helps in sending the message that intrusive ads are not the only advertising solution.
The success of this initiative’s first steps shows that users understand the need for web pages to finance themselves through advertising, and are willing to consume ads in exchange for precisely that, but only those which may actually provide them with some value as opposed to being intrusive.
Over the next months and years we will see whether or not this exchange network will work for both advertisers and supporters. If so, it seems only logical that we will experience an evolution towards integrated ads, that will improve companies’ sales results and provide websites with a source of income without disturbing users. Adblocks do not, in any way, mean an end to online advertising, they merely provide a push towards a better advertising. The secret lies in creating ads and stories that truly interest users and encourage them to respond. Blindly launching out thousands of impressions and seeing what happens might be the easy way out, but the result is an oversaturated market where advertising is not only far from being effective: it’s actually counterproductive, pushing its target audience away.
Naturally, advertisers who are able not to be intrusive and attract their users interest will be those who survive through changes such as the rise of adblocks or ad exchanges with strict criteria.
As marketers, this is a great chance to put our creativity to work and design better ads to attract conversions. Without, of course, ever forgetting that digital advertising is so much more than just display: strategies such as email marketing, social media or content marketing have a lot more to offer advertisers.
Photo by Joshua Earle