Ad blocking was front of mind at the recent Advertising Week Europe conference in London. “The audience is pointing a gun at us and saying ‘the way you operate business is not acceptable to us,'” said Tim Gentry, global revenue director at the Guardian.
Ad blocking is not a symptom of a petulant public, but a signal that they feel advertising has little to offer them.
“Ad blocking has come up because so much of advertising just gets in the way,” said Andy Chandler, vice-president EMEA of US mobile monetisation company Tapjoy. “You have to show somebody that you value their time and offer something in return now.” Where a value exchange is clear, advertising is accepted. For instance, the Guardian noted that two-thirds of its most loyal readers whitelist the news organisation in their ad blockers in exchange for free access to its content.
Chandler recommended that publishers take cues from advertising in the gaming space, where ad engagement is often tied to immediate rewards, such as in-game currency. He said his company has seen these strategies result in 90% completion rates for video ads.
Another strategy is to shift targeting focus away from user-tracking cookies and towards contextual data, such as location or time of day. British lifestyle site The Pool staggers its content across appropriate times of day, one item at a time. Sam Baker, co-founder, chief executive and editor of the website, commented: “Instead of throwing 100 pieces of content a day at a wall and seeing what sticks, we release 10 pieces a day, when they resonate.”
This ability to enhance the value of their content through contextual targeting helps The Pool engender loyalty in its readers, something all brands should be aiming for.