The ABC’s of Ad Blocking

The ABC’s of Ad Blocking

Although ad blocking has been around for years, it has typically been regarded as a nuisance for news media trying to scrape together enough digital dimes to combat the rapid decline in print advertising.  But suddenly it seems to be invoking fear and loathing in the hearts and wallets of online publishers. Taking a look back at where ad blocking began and where it is going, it’s not hard to  understand why ad blocking has stirred up the media frenzy of late… What is ad blocking and why is it suddenly such a problem? Ad blocking extensions originated within online gaming circles, where interruptive pop-ups and other advertisements drastically affected the gamer’s experience. The incentive was two-fold based on basic irritation and poor page loading times. It wasn’t until more recently that these extensions, which place a firewall between the website and the advertisements, began to seep into the average internet user’s browser. Today 198 million people globally  are using ad blocking software; including about half of online users in the US and UK. Thanks to the digital savvy millennial generation, ad blockers are becoming mainstream and the repercussions are becoming more than just a nuisance to advertisers and publishers alike.   Big corporations are poised to rule the world wide web Earlier this year, Google came out with an AdBlock Plus Browser, an Android browser that blocks ads by default. Not to be left out of the ad block party, Apple is about to release its very own ad blocking extension for Safari on iOS alongside its new Apple News app—a replacement to their fallen Newsstand that gives readers the personalized content (ads included) of their choice. Soon publishers and other tech titans will have no choice but to pay the green giant a hefty price to display their ads in Apple News and Safari as they already do  today with Eyeo. News of the proverbial “whitelist” made the struggle to monetize digital advertising feel that much more difficult to, well, everyone else. Adobe estimated that $21.8 billion in global ad revenue will be blocked this year, while The Drum predicts that ad blocking software will cost publishers $40 billion or more by the turn of the calendar. Mauricio Freitas, the Publisher of New Zealand’s Geekzone, has said what most advertisers are thinking: “Viewing ads is part of the deal if users want content to be free.” Unfortunately, a whole lot of internet users would argue that point — one group in particular. Millennials march to a different digital drummer The millennial generation, those currently aged 18-35, are posing a particular problem to the online advertising industry. As the first generation of “digital natives”, having grown up hyper connected with smartphones, tablets, laptops and full time access to the internet and social media, millennials are more discerning, more tech...

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