Impact of Ad Blocking in B2B Marketing

Impact of Ad Blocking in B2B Marketing

Surfing without interruption- that’s the latest fad! No wonder that the web’s two most popular extensions and open source content filters, such as AdBlock and Adblock Plus have gained so much popularity. Since 2011, Adblock Plus has roped in over 200 million downloads. Most web browsers are using easy-to-install ad blocking plug-ins such as AdBlock and AdBlock Plus just to avoid the hindrance caused by pop-ups and auto-play video ads that tend to divert their attention from the main page. Ad blockers are easy to install, they make browsing smooth and seamless; they make the web page cleaner and prevent advertisers from tracking the user activity online. Some of the ad blocking software are so effective that even Google and Facebook, the two greatest advertising giants are unable to get past them.

Ad Blocking- The Debate Continues

Whether ad blocking should become an important part of the web browsing or not is still a debatable proposition. Of course, its impact on B2B marketing cannot be overlooked. While debating on content piracy, many believe that exposure to an ad is the only fee that users pay for making use of free content. On the other hand, the companies that create ad blocking software and ‘privacy activists’ are in favor of ad blocking because advertising companies use the ads to track user interest and activities online.

Ad blocking definitely has a negative impact on B2B marketing. What happens is, these software prevent the websites from generating ad revenues, which is often their main source of income. Most often, placing ads next to the web page content helps the various websites recover the cost of creating content. Advertisers sometimes pay a minimum amount each time an ad is shown to a visitor. By installing ad blockers, you basically cut off this source of revenue. According to a recent survey, publishers in the U.S. lose more than 9% of ad revenue as a result of ad blocking.  Due to this ad blocking trend, many websites are on the verge of incurring huge losses.

Impact of Ad Blocking on B2B Marketers

B2B marketers will be hard hit due to ad blocking. The reason is, many websites that aren’t subsidized by television or print ads, are likely to close down due to diminishing online ad revenues. The consumers would also suffer because websites that were earlier dependent on ads are more likely to charge from the users for viewing content in order to withstand the hard competition. The latest trend in ad technology has focused on solving the needs of advertisers and publishers.

For years, the purpose behind the innovations in ad technology was to solve the needs of publishers and advertisers. In today’s world, data-driven personalization focusses on transforming ad generation into a service that would help users get relevant and well-timed information. Unlike television and print, the web offers the users the space to make choices. It is high time that consumers understand the impact of ad blocking on the publishing industry. Although ad blocking is less widely used in B2B as most larger companies control what software can be installed on PCs , nevertheless it is likely to remain and will decrease the number of people who can be reached through conventional online advertising.

Currently, the number of users in the B2B industry who are in favor of ad blocking technology is still uncertain. Some advertising companies sign deals with ad blocking companies to allow their ads to appear on the website. This means that the ads will appear irrespective of the content and quality. Also, when ad blocking companies allow the ads to appear on a website and people view these ads, they prevent publishers from earning the money by effectively transferring the revenue from the publisher to the ad blocking company. This will have a negative impact on the publishers who will find it hard to earn the revenue required for paying the journalists to get high quality content for their websites.

Basically, the B2B publishers need to educate the users about the consequences of using ad blockers and leave it to them to make an informed choice.

Is content marketing really all about product placement?

Trinity Mirror has launched a website funded entirely by native advertising. I’m not sure this is a revolution in journalism; it feels more like an experiment to me.

Whilst many people are looking to native advertising as a way to monetise online news more effectively than surrounding stories with blingy banners, I think the reality is that no one is quite sure what native advertising will look like in five years’ time. The old-school advertorial is probably too blunt an instrument for consumer titles (although I think it will have a place in B2B), and Trinity Mirror’s vision seems to be closer to product placement than anything else. Sue Douglas, head of Sunday brands at Trinity Mirror, said:

“This isn’t advertorial at all; it’s about collecting and curating the stories that you want on your site, and then within a story is some kind of serendipitous news element that lends itself to a product or some other priority that you know a business you have a relationship with has and you can utilise that.

“You might be doing a story about appalling weather, and so right down at the bottom you can have a link for Hunter’s wellies, providing people with the means to buy a relevant product if they want to.”

Whilst this approach sounds nice – highly relevant content about a brand in a story that would have been written anyway, it does make me wonder how this type of advertising might be sold. If publishers are truely going to just write news stories, it will be impossible to accurately predict the advertising opportunities and potential impressions for any one brand. Will this uncertainty lead to new, innovative sales models or will the challenge of selling opportunities at short notice result in publishers telling journalists to ensure they write about topics that provide the best advertising opportunities?

Something tells me we are a long way from the optimistic future predicted by Sue Douglas…

Will publishers start to block 3rd party cookies?

Interesting article in the Guardian, which claims that publishers are losing control of online advertising to the large digital advertising networks. As the networks can aggregate the behaviour of a user over many different sites, the knowledge publishers have of their readers might be less valuable because they only know what readers do on their sites. Will publishers start to block 3rd party cookies from the advertising networks that use their sites? And what will the advertising networks do to respond?