As ad blocking becomes a growing threat to the digital marketing industry. A survey reveals how publishers are tackling the problem- revealing divided opinions over the practice.
The global research, from content platform Sourcepoint, explores premium publishers’ approaches to ad blocking and ignites hope for a stronger relationship with online audiences.
The survey reveals that over three-fifths (62%) of UK publishers favour direct consumer messaging – where a message is sent on detection of ad blocking software and asks users to turn off their ad blocker, or offers an alternative compensation approach.
In stark contrast, 9 in 10 (90%) UK publishers were opposed to paying fees to ad blocking technology providers that allow specific ads to be whitelisted and ultimately displayed.
While consumer messaging was a clear winner, the popularity of other methods was mixed.
Circumvention — where the page source is adjusted so that the publisher can decide to deliver ads even in the presence of ad blocking software — was highly favoured in the US and mainland Europe (64% and 59% of publishers respectively), but was opposed by just over half of UK publishers (52%).
Attitudes towards locking content and preventing ad block users from viewing it also varied, with over half of UK and mainland Europe publishers in approval (52% and 56% respectively). In parallel, 53% of US publishers claimed they were unlikely to explore this method.
Publishers taking part in the research demonstrated a global reluctance to implement paywalls – where ad block users are prevented from accessing content unless they agree to pay for it – with 78% of UK publishers, 77% of European publishers, and 75% of US publishers against the measure.
“It is clear from our research that there are a number of solutions for publishers looking to strengthen audience relationships with those who employ ad blocking technology. Publishers accept there are a number of reasons why users install ad blocking technology and therefore different solutions are available to reach key audiences,” comments Ben Barokas, Sourcepoint’s founder and CEO.
Thomas Mendrina, General Manager International at Sourcepoint adds, “Education is vital to safeguard publisher advertising revenue. We need to go back to basics and communicate transparently with consumers to encourage participation in a fair value exchange – high quality content must be funded. By offering consumers greater choice in their advertising experience publishers can be empowered to regain control of their site.”
The web-based survey questioned over 150 global publishers — with respondents including comScore’s Top 50 Digital Publishers — and sought to establish which ad blocking solutions publishers favour. Focusing in particular on the approaches publishers plan to implement in the next three years, the survey identified the three methods most likely to be utilised as: direct consumer messaging, circumvention, and content locking.