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Seven steps you can take to manage the risk of ad blocking

June 1, 2016 | By Rande Price, Research Director—DCN @Randeloo

Publishers, platforms, and industry groups gathered together last month for the third time to discuss the continued threat of ad blocking. Attendees included ESPN, the Guardian and Google to name a few. The meeting was organized by Johnny Ryan, the head of ecosystem at PageFair, a company that builds technology to by-pass ad blocking, and Jason Kint, CEO of Digital Content Next, an industry trade association for quality digital content companies. Though the meeting was private, the participants agreed to share the seven takeaways to best deal with the risk of ad blocking

  1. On the blocked web, the user must have immediate tools to reject and to complain about advertising. There needs to be a set of tools and choices for consumers to provide feedback to advertisers especially offering feedback in real-time to address a particular problem or concern with advertising.
  2. Rather than restore all ads on the blocked web, only a limited number of premium advertising slots should be restored. This will make a better impact for brands, clean up the user experience, and incentivize better creative. Publishers need to offer few and better ads. In doing so they will provide the consumer with a better online experience.
  3. The blocked web may provide the opportunity to establish a new form of above-the-line advertising. Advertising must be less intrusive and complement the consumer’s digital experience, not disrupt it.
  4. Contextual targeting can be used on the blocked web to establish ad relevance if other forms of tracking are not practical or desirable.
  5. On the blocked web, where third-party tracking is largely blocked, publishers can create new value by engaging with their users to elicit volunteered data. Publishers should find alternative methods to obtain consumer details such as offering a valued exchange for personal information such as customized content, newsletters and/or exclusive promotions.
  6. Measuring advertising success on the blocked web with broader top-of-funnel metrics may incentivize buyers to focus on value rather than cheapness. Importantly, publishers must work with marketers to ensure they recognize the value of engaged consumers and trusted publishers. Introducing new measurements such as an attention metrics, will further advance digital media advertising effectiveness.
  7. On the web as a whole, there should be a maximum page load time standard that publishers and advertisers both commit to. The digital media experience should be a positive consumer experience.

The seven recommendations identify the most effective ways to improve the consumer experience on publisher sites and thwart the adoption of ad blocking. Further, communicating to consumers on changes and new implementations will be key to rebuilding their trust for a restored and stronger relationship with publishers.

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