The two workshops for the AOP ad blocking campaign have revealed some important issues and clarified some opportunities.
It was generally agreed at our first Workshop that whilst a significant number of those in the room were trying to combat the threat, many found that it is an issue that is not seen as a priority by senior management, who generally felt that the problem had reached a plateau; the idea of which was strongly rejected by those who had inspected the trends in more detail.
The AOP was tasked with creating a survey to quantify the revenue losses Members experienced due to ad blocking.
The AOP also agreed to create an information piece that would set out these revenue losses, highlight the likely growth of ad blocking and cover strategies to recover revenues lost in the hope that this would provide a useful tool for teams trying to convince senior management of the problem.
A group of Members with brands in the automotive space also put forward the following hypothesis…
“We believe that our efforts to opt ad block users into advertising are hampered by the presence of other alternative auto sites that the user can visit. We submit the idea that, if all those sites were to offer a similar UX to ad block users, then opt in rates would increase. We would also like to explore the idea that opt in rates would further increase if we could find a way to allow users to consent across the group of sites from one opt in offer.”
This test continues to be constructed.
Our 2nd Workshop saw the involvement of Oliver Von Wersch who, having implemented ad blocking strategies for a select group of major German publishing groups, had this to say “success is pure additional revenue”.
Our review of the estimated revenues lost to ad blocking showed the maximum loss that a publisher had declared was just under £2.1 million in a year. The median – as there was a big range – was fractionally under half a million a year. Other members are not losing much, in part because their portfolio of brands is not skewed to young, techie adults or sits more in the B2B space, where there is less ad blocking.
Whilst the bulk of publishers are losing revenues in the hundreds of thousands, some are losing millions. This higher figure equates to the losses incurred by larger publishers, while the average cost of ad blocking for publishers is close to £500,000 per year. Ad blocking is not an issue the industry can afford to ignore.
The ad blocking session highlighted some significant threats but was encouraging for the opportunity to recover revenue and for the ecosystem level efforts now taking effect. 50% of Members surveyed estimated losses to ad blocking of over £500,000 per annum.
All Members of the panel expect ad blocking to grow and the key further recognition is that “ad blocking” actually now attempts to block all scripts that aim to track user data with the following consequences:
- All revenue streams are compromised
- Audience measurement is lost
- More difficult to measure true extent and effect of blocking
AOP research, anecdotal feedback from the room and AOP Group sessions suggests that ad blocking should in some cases, be a higher priority for publishers and that AOP should continue to:
- Provide Members with data and tools to highlight the revenue recovery opportunity
- Make clear the initial simple actions to begin recovering revenue
- Continue to enable sharing of the more advanced initiatives that are emerging
- Interact with the industry to drive to access ecosystem level action
In this respect the ecosystem level efforts of Chrome filtering and BetterAds revealed by Thomas Schreiber from Google are welcome and his invitation for Publishers to offer more active feedback to the process was received with open arms.
The AOP publication on AdBlocking goes into more detail on this subject - available in digital or printed form.