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Digital Content Next Research Indicates 33% of Consumers Likely to Try Ad Blocking Software in Next Three Months

December 9, 2015 | By DCN
Ad Block Report Header

May translate into another 9% new ad blocker installs

New York, NY(December 9, 2015)Digital Content Next (DCN) today released findings from their 2015 DCN Consumer Ad Block Report, research that explores the increasing threat posed by ad blocking software. The report examines consumer attitudes toward ad blocking software, finding that 33% of U.S. consumers are very likely or somewhat likely to try ad blocking software in the next three

The full report, available to DCN members only, offers additional insights into awareness and usage of ad blocking software, attitudes towards perceived performance impact on browsing experience, and how perceptions differ between premium content and social media sites.

According to DCN Research Director Rande Price, survey responses often over-estimate actual behavior, therefore a “discounting” formula was applied to attempt to estimate intended install rates. “We estimate about half of the ‘very likely’ responders and one quarter of the ‘somewhat likely’ responders – a net take rate of 9% – will opt out of advertising in the next three months,” said Price.

Additional findings from the report:

  • Experience: More than 70% dislike ads that expand over content or play with sound.
  • Tracking: 68% are concerned when ads track their behavior.
  • Performance: 57% note their web pages load too slowly with ads.

“On a scale of one to ten, my concern is at a level eight or nine – our industry has ignored consumer concerns and now these same consumers are speaking up by installing ad blocking software,” said DCN CEO Jason Kint. “We need leaders across the industry to focus on providing better experiences, transparency and controls that will solve this issue.”

The contents of the report will be discussed during DCN’s upcoming event, “The Consumer Rules: Lessons from Ad Blocking” on Wednesday, December 16 at the Newseum in Washington, D.C., featuring a fireside chat with FTC Commissioner Julie Brill. Additional panelists include: Jed Hartman, Chief Revenue Officer, Washington Post; Heather West, Senior Policy Manager, Mozilla; Ben Barokas, CEO, Sourcepoint; and Fatemeh Khatibloo, Principal Analyst, Forrester Research.

DCN has provided the following list of key takeaways from the 2015 DCN Consumer Ad Block Report as a guide for its members:

What you need to know:

How big?
Ad blocking growth is happening linearly. Left unchecked, it is a significant issue for the industry. Accelerants may include installation at the enterprise-level, carriers competing on ad blocking as a feature
and continued growth in privacy and security risks in the  marketplace.

Consumer drivers
Consumers install ad blockers due to various concerns, namely performance, privacy and/or security. Ad blocking signals a breakdown in trust by consumers and should be top of mind for advertisers and publishers who carry the most risk from its adoption.

The economic impact is proportional but significantly smaller than the penetration of ad blockers. While it’s not a significant hurdle for the economics of digital media short-term – and many have argued it will be a positive long-term – publishers can do a lot now to get ahead of the issues driving installation.

Our industry must focus on three areas – performance, privacy and security. While performance is most easily measured and solved, the other two areas have the ability to accelerate ad blocking in the marketplace. Fundamentally, ad blocking is driven by billions of dollars being invested in automation of advertising and related technologies without enough attention on the consumer. This area warrants the most attention. Industry ad tech associations like the IAB and NAI will need to play a role in developing
practical solutions.

Things to consider:

Talk to your customers
Industry stakeholders should be spending time on research and conversations with their consumers. The value-exchange with consumers is unique to any given brand and their content. Find solutions to improving the consumer experience by testing new value-exchange models that can extend beyond advertising.

Identify positive consumer ad experiences
Consumers appreciate contextually relevant ads and find them useful. They support the users’ search and can offer new, valuable information. Ad agencies and advertisers need to invest in creating ad
experiences that consumers value and even enjoy. Content should strike a balance with the amount of advertising on the page, so that users do not feel overwhelmed by the number of ads on a page.

Call for more transparency and better consumer controls
Join DCN in calling for 3rd parties to provide more transparency about when they are tracking consumers and how they collect and use consumer data. Consumers also need easier ways to exercise control over this kind of 3rd party tracking.

Tread carefully
Investment dollars and vendors will be chasing solutions to this problem – experience says another tech layer is not the best solution. Do not outsource any solution lightly; test simple solutions you think make sense for your audience first.

Leverage your peers
Trade associations like DCN are built to benefit members and pave the future for trust. Embrace them, share with your peers, and encourage your trade groups to form working committees, private events and repositories of best practices, case studies and data. Solutions for these problems lie in the open web and
not behind closed doors.

DCN has experienced approximately 35% percent growth in new members in the past 12 months including ABC, ABC Owned Television Stations, Atlantic Media, Business Insider, Fusion, Independent Journal, New Republic, News Corp, NYLON, Refinery29, Robb Report, Rodale, Telegraph Media Group, The Daily Caller, The E.W. Scripps Company, The Onion, Tribune Publishing, Vocativ, Vox Media, and Warner Bros. The organization has also expanded its scope to share additional intelligence and industry findings through its InContext website, public events and research. Follow DCN on Twitter.

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Digital Content Next (DCN) is the only trade organization dedicated to serving the unique and diverse needs of high-quality digital content companies that manage trusted, direct relationships with consumers and marketers. The organization was founded in June 2001 as the Online Publishers Association (OPA). Comprised of some of the most trusted and well-respected media brands, DCN produces proprietary research for its members and the public, creates public and private forums to explore and advance key issues that impact digital content brands, offers an influential voice that speaks for digital content companies in the press, with advertisers and policy makers, and works to educate the public at large on the importance of quality content brands. Digital Content Next’s membership has an unduplicated audience of 223,098 million unique visitors or 100% reach of the U.S. online population.*

More information about Digital Content Next is available at www.digitalcontentnext.org.

Source: comScore, Inc.®, January 2015

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Contact: Kaitlyn Kurosky
212 918 2040
[email protected]