This is no different than when someone visits a magazine’s web site and is instead greeted by an unwanted and uninvited pop-up ad. Readers have grown weary of these invasive ads as well as hidden tracking technology, slow browsing experiences and bandwidth-sucking, auto-play videos — and they are taking action.
According to an August 2015 report by PageFair and Adobe, during the past year ad blockage usage in the United States grew 48 per cent. As of Q2 2015, 45m monthly active users have hung the equivalent of a “No Solicitations” sign on their virtual doors. Ad blocking capability in Apple’s new iOS9 is expected to accelerate this trend.
The publishing industry is rightfully concerned about the ability for its readers to block these ads and putting a stranglehold on this revenue stream — and that’s a good thing.
Now publishers will be forced to adapt or innovate to survive. For too long publishers resisted the near-term pain caused by disruption within the industry and continued operating under yesterday’s logic while clinging to its broken legacy business model.
Publishers are desperate to build their traffic to reach “scale” leading to content partnerships with other brands, giving away content to social media companies and aggregators and pouring significant resources into content creation.
The goal is to build an audience by any means necessary but the efforts amount to nothing more than a Ponzi scheme where five companies (Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Yahoo!, and AOL) generated 61 per cent of domestic digital ad revenue in 2014, leaving the millions of other sites to fight for the same remaining piece of the pie. Meanwhile, the bar keeps getting raised on the numbers needed to attract advertising, which is diminishing in value anyway.
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