Why Educating Ad Blockers is the Wrong Strategy


Educating Ad Blockers Strategy

The other day, I was talking to my 70-year-old father and decided to ask him about the websites he visits on his iPad. He mentioned CBC for news in Canada, and BBC for World News, among a few other sites, mostly news, politics, or entertainment related.

I then asked him the following question: "Dad, do you know how these sites make money?"

His layman response: "Of course. Commercials."

For a 70-year-old man, I wasn't expecting him to say "Programmatic Display & Native Ads..." but what my father's response highlighted was that he fundamentally understood the business model of how publishers earn revenue online i.e. through advertising.

So when folks in the industry say that people use ad blockers because they're not "educated" about a publisher's business model, I feel pretty baffled. After all, if someone is tech savvy enough to download and install a browser extension to block ads and third party scripts, I'm pretty sure they're educated enough to know that the monetization strategy for a majority of the sites they visit are driven by ads!

This position about "educating people" simply illustrates the massive divide between publishers and how well they know their audience.

If there's anyone who needs education, it's the Publishers, Advertisers, and Brands who give away a majority of their revenue and ad budget to ad tech middlemen. The rest is lost to ad fraud, ad blocking, and impressions that were never viewed.

The below chart from the World Federation of Advertisers paints this picture perfectly:

Ad Tech Ad Fraud - Publishers Losing Revenue

The blue bar represents 100% of the client's ad spend. After going through the plethora of ad tech middlemen, Publishers are left with a meager 40% of ad revenue to work with. To put this into perspective, imagine working for a $2,000 pay cheque but only getting paid $800! And this amount is further reduced when factoring in ad fraud, non-viewable impressions, and now ad blocking

So instead of educating ad blockers, Publishers and Advertisers should do some deep self-reflection, look at their entire business model, and question everything about existing ad tech. Just because advertising has always been served this way, doesn't mean it's the only way. Furthermore, Publishers should strike back by building their own walled garden around their audience. Maximizing the use of Publisher first party data is far more effective in the long run.

Ali Shah is the Founder & CEO of ADfits, a Value Exchange Marketplace where Publishers, Brands, and Empowered Consumers converge for their mutual benefit. The ADfits myREWARDS Platform will be BETA launching in Canada, USA, and the UK on Nov. 18 2016. Ali is passionate about changing the way modern digital ads work and cutting through the noise of marketing. Connect with him on LinkedIn or follow him on Twitter (#JoinADfits #myREWARDS).

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