January 24, 2021

A new generation of users can kill ads on the Internet

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From the first days after the release of the iOS 9 operating system, applications that remove ads from mobile browsers, ranked first in the list of most downloadedpaid apps in the USA. Thus, Apple’s decision to block ads in the new OS was met with great enthusiasm by users and quickly turned into a real headache for online publishers and advertisers.

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According to a joint study conducted byby Adobe and Pagefair this fall, the percentage of users of ad blockers has already reached 16% among Americans, which brought publishers losses of about $ 10.7 billion last year. Ironically (and most offensively) here, the largest growth among users of ad blockers occurred within the age group, which is the main target audience of advertisers - Generation Y. In a previous study by Adobe, it was emphasized that young people are more inclined to install ad blockers people: 40% of all people aged 18-29 years and almost half of young men. It seems that with the growth of the economic value of Generation Y, it is more and more ready to take any measures to get its content quickly, with maximum quality and for free.

It’s hard enough to justify the growinga group of young readers who refuse to pay anyone for content. Nevertheless, empirical research and our own experience confirm the arguments of supporters of ad blocking that the latter is becoming more aggressive and annoying. A recent study by the Reuters Journalism Institute showed that only 13% of American Internet users find traditional advertising banners useful, and more than half consider them annoying and distracting (29% of those surveyed even admitted that they avoid visiting some sites because of such advertising). Thus, there is every reason to believe that this attitude to advertising has led to a rapid increase in the adoption of ways to block advertising, in particular among generation Y. Even among those who do not currently block advertising, 57% of those aged 18-29 reported that they would consider such a possibility if the number of advertisements shown to them continued to increase.

This is a really serious problem.for publishers who have been trying for years to find a middle ground in the use of display advertising. In the fight against falling indicators, they mainly relied on the creation of new types of advertising and the search for new ways to appear before the eyes of readers. The advent of ad blockers has completely changed the rules of the game - and publishers have few opportunities to return lost profits. The authors of The Awl, The Verge, and The Atlantic spoke sharply enough about the devastating impact that publishers (especially more vulnerable independent media) would have on readers using ad blockers. It is not difficult to imagine a future in which a critical mass of advertising impressions will not be delivered, and even the richest publishers will be forced to close.

It’s worth noting that digital publishersadvertisements could never influence their results. In addition to the fierce struggle for advertising displays, which only intensified with the advent of new advertising formats, it became almost impossible for publishers to differentiate their advertising inventory. The balance has always been on the side of Google and other large advertising servers, because they had technology and access to a huge inventory base and advertisers - and the ability to disable this access to any weaker competitor. It's good that everyone began to sound the alarm about the threat to online publishers by ad blockers, but do not ignore the slow death of digital and print publishers, which has long been taking place thanks to the digital advertising ecosystem, which has greatly damaged publishers and jeopardized journalism in general.

One more thing follows from this: although ad blockers are actually threatening to turn over the entire system that supports publishing on the Internet, this system no longer works for almost all of its participants - consumers who block ads, disappointed advertisers, and dying small publishers. The main beneficiaries of the system - Google and other large advertising technology companies - were never interested in protecting independent media, and their growing consolidation only took away market power from content producers and consumers. Such a system may be functioning, but it has always been opposed to publishers who cannot gather a critical mass - and even for the few who could do it, it is still unstable and complex. Readers are also not at all enthusiastic about her. In general, there is a tendency to “adapt or die” - but who will argue that publishers have long been trying to adapt, and all is unsuccessful?

This can be a strong argument for those who wish.wait and see what changes ad blockers will bring. We don’t know what the monetization scheme of the Internet will look like without traditional advertising (or at least without most of it), but it’s obvious that everything will be different. The launch of Facebook Instant Articles, Snapchat Discover, and Apple News opens up broad prospects for monetization and access to a potentially larger and more stable audience. Transferring control over the distribution of content to non-core brands is risky, but this is far from news, and besides, at least these ecosystems will be able to identify publisher brands as premium with respect to status updates of your friends and photos from your parents' vacations. In addition to the ongoing “platform war,” resource-rich sites are experimenting with new ad formats for greater efficiency and better interaction experience. Mic, with its huge audience of Generation Y and mobile users, has invested in sponsored content and ad formats that aren't blocked by the most popular ad blockers, which has envied other publishers. Some authors have suggested using alternative models for generating revenue from users who don’t show ads — for example, subscriptions or micropayments. These formats could never succeed before, but now technology platforms have emerged for this, for example in the form of cryptocurrencies. The ease of use of micropayments and small tips could attract readers who want to legitimize their freedom from advertising. An alternative is to collect more detailed user information that publishers can sell to marketing agencies or use to target their own ads. This, for example, can be done by registering users on the site.

In any case, digital publishers andadvertisers do not have to choose whether to accept these models or not: rather, the question is when exactly will they have to do it. Ad blocking has become commonplace, and if governments do not intervene, publishers and advertisers will be forced to deal with a growing audience that cannot be monetized in traditional ways. The situation does not yet require immediate action, but with the continued growth in popularity of ad blockers and their coming to mobile platforms, it becomes clear that the display of ads, which is still the lifeblood of the Internet, is in danger.

Thus, a return to a more exclusive,Targeted and premium ads can help publishers regain control. However, if current ad blocker growth trends continue, publishers will only have to thank Generation Y, which has jeopardized their very existence.

: Forbes.com