Don’t blame the ad-blockers, blame the ad industry

facebook user 1With the spat between Facebook and Adblock refusing to die down the debate surrounding ad blockers has once again been ignited.
For the social network, ad blockers not only present a risk to its revenues, but as Facebook ad chief Andrew Bosworth told Business Insider, the move is something they “really believe in,” adding that “for us, it’s a very principled stance on how Facebook should be delivered”.
According to Facebook, this measure goes beyond safeguarding revenues, and instead is designed to tackle broader industry issues and look at how Facebook users can use ad controls to make its adverts better.
In the past year alone consumers have used ad blockers to vent their frustration with interruptive and annoying ads, with an estimated 80% of mobile users currently using them or desiring to do so in the future. Facebook’s decision to block ad blockers appears to recognise these core issues, with Bosworth noting that “disruptive ads are an industry problem, and the rise of ad blockers is a strong signal that people don’t want to see them,” acknowledging that “ad blockers are a really bad solution.”
As Facebook has acknowledged, the industry needs to look at the wider picture, and recognise that ad blockers only exist because of poor quality advertising.
With a huge 71% of ad block users stating that they would proactively whitelist sites that meet “acceptable” criteria, it’s clear that high quality, personalised content, is the industry’s most valuable weapon in the war against ad blockers.
It is therefore important not to ignore those using ad blockers, but instead to ensure that the right ads are served to the right people, at the right time, and in the right location. Through this approach, ads become interesting, engaging and valuable to consumers, discouraging them from deploying ad blockers in the first place.
This in turn drives ROI for marketers and revenues for publishers, and enhances the overall user experience, presenting a sustainable solution in the long term.

Greg Isbister is chief executive and founder of Blis


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