Three Ways Publishers Can Win Users Back

“Consumers are speaking loudly that they are fed up with the current system of how online advertising works, and they are seeking out better alternatives.”

So said Till Faida, CEO of Adblock Plus. And he’s completely right.

Considering ad blocking software is expected to cause a $27 billion loss of revenue by 2020, publishers need to start implementing new advertising means in order to combat this growing trend . While it may sound scary, there is a huge opportunity to win users back.

Here are three proven ways how.

Native Ads
In 2015, a study conducted by Business Insider Intelligence found that 75% of participants claimed their reason behind blocking advertisements had to do with ads being interruptive, with 55% specifying they can be annoying

Furthermore, in a survey performed by Trusted Media Brands, 44% of respondents deemed native advertising to be less intrusive while 27% stated that native advertising fostered an enriched experience.

There are many examples of native advertising being successfully woven into different content formats. For example, the Buzzfeed quiz “Can We Guess Where You’ll Be in 10 Years” was sponsored by BMW to promote the i3 and the company’s direction forward. This native advertisement received tens of thousands of impressions and interactions.

With a non-intrusive format, ads are no longer a nuisance but rather a component of a positive online experience. As a result, this tactic gives users less incentive to block what they consider to be ‘annoying’ ads.

Ad Personalization

In an Accenture study on user frustration with ads, 42% of respondents stated they are planning to pay for new solutions to remove ad interruptions. Yikes.

A little less scary: in the same survey, a full 50% indicated they would be interested in ads if they met their personal interest. In another study conducted by Yahoo! in 2014, “The Balancing Act: Getting Personalization Right”, 54% of participants found personalized ads to be more engaging, 52% found them to be more educational, 49% found them to be more time-saving, and 45% found them to be more memorable than general ads.

The solution?

Remove interruptions and think personalization. According to Kevin Lindsay, head of product marketing for Adobe Target, companies that transform their advertising to be more personal are 26% more profitable overall with a 12% greater market capitalization.

Go beyond ad personalization and learn the benefits of content personalization.

Ad Light Experiences

As previously mentioned, ad blockers are used because users are frustrated with the intrusive nature of some ads. Understanding user sentiment and the opportunities available, a number of early adopters have implemented ‘ad light’ experiences.

A well-documented example is, where users with ad blockers are prohibited from accessing the site. Instead, they are directed to a welcome screen with a message stating that if they disable their ad blocker, they are able to access the site in an ad light experience.

Clearly, users benefit by being able to view any content in a less intrusive environment. And, indeed, benefits: 42.4% of visitors have turned off their ad blockers, leading to 15 million ad impressions that, otherwise, would have been blocked.

The lesson is that users are willing to–and do–accept ads. But only if they are done right.


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1 Kharpal, Arjun. “Adblocking Will Cost Publishers A $27B by 2020:Study.” Tech Transformers CNBC. CNBC, 11 May 2016.
2 Perlberg, Steven. “Adblock Plus Chief Till Faida Says Consumers Are Fed Up With Current Online Ads.” The Wall Street Journal, 11 May 2016.
3 Meola, Andrew. “Google Might Soon Stop Intrusive Ads From Popping Up On Your Screen.” Business Insider. Business Insider, Inc, 10 May 2016.
4 Grow, Adam. “2016: The Year of Display.” Forbes. Forbes Magazine, 22 Jan. 2016.
5 Young, Ben. “The Best Examples of Native Advertising.” Nudge Analytics. 25 Jan. 2015.
6 Sterling, Greg. “Majority of Users Frustrated by Disruptive Ads, Aware of Ad Blocking [Survey].” Marketing Land. N.p., 18 Apr. 2016.
7 Cramer, Henriette, Davidson, Jessica, Weinberg, Lauren and Wong, Edwin. “The Balancing Act: Getting Personalization Right.” Yahoo!, May 2015.
8 Lindsay, Kevin. “The Personalization Payoff: The ROI of Getting Personal.” Adobe, 4 Jun. 2014.
9 Kozolowski, Michael. “Forbes is Finding Success with Telling People to Turn off their Ad-Blockers.” Good Reader, 11 Jan. 2016.