A new app has digital publishers throughout the Internet biting their nails, and not without reason. Eyeo recently announced the beta release of its new version of AdBlock Pro for the Google Android operating system. Let’s examine what this new development might mean for your publication.
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Why You Should Care
AdBlock Plus claims to wipe out any ads its users don’t want to see. Judging by the enormous 200,000-download response to the release of the Android app on its release, there are a lot of ad-hating mobile device owners out there — or at least a lot of people who don’t want to see their favorite sites littered with dynamic advertising and sponsored content. That’s potentially very bad news for digital publishers who have embraces this form of advertising as an important revenue stream as traditional print ad incomes have dried up.
Ad-blocking software is nothing new — Up to 50 percent of visitors to the majority of websites are now using an ad-blocker of some sort. But it promises to pose a special threat to publishers trying to reach people in the mobile arena, where screen size is limited and users have limited patience for anything that interferes with their online experience. That’s a great deal of potential advertising revenue that simple vanishes down a black hole.
Why You Shouldn’t Panic
With the obvious threat ad-blocking software poses to digital publishers who depend on dynamic advertising to pay the bills, you might be forgiven for assuming that the Electronic Apocalypse is nigh. But even though this form of technology can definitely do a lot of harm to digital publishers, it doesn’t necessarily follow that it HAS to. One thing you may not have considered, for example, is the fact that AdBlock Pro and other ad-blocking apps include whitelisting among their functions. When a user adds a given publication to its software’s whitelist, that publication’s ads will continue to be displayed as usual. Your readers will put you on that list if:
- You explain how. Wired is a great example of a publication that understands how to educate its readership about whitelisting. The online version of the magazine displays a static block of text asking readers to support the publication by whitelisting it. Readers who click on the text are taken to step-by-step instructions for disabling the blocking of Wired ads.
- Your readers want you to survive. Loyal readers will whitelist your ads as long as you explain to them (on your website) that those ads help you keep delivering the great content they’ve come to love and expect. If it’s as simple as selecting a preference, your fans should be happy to do that much for you.
- Your readers genuinely like your ads. If your sponsored content or dynamic advertising offers legitimate informational or entertainment value that makes it relevant to your target audience, your readers may decide that they miss your ads and take the necessary steps to whitelist them. (Irrelevant or uninteresting ads probably aren’t raking in the revenue anyway!)
It’s important to note that AdBlock Pro and its cousins target dynamic ads, not static ones. While users can opt to block everything, chances are that your static ads will get through even if your dynamic ones don’t. This points to the simple logic of diversifying your advertising approach instead of putting all your eggs in one technological basket. You can never completely know what the future holds, after all — a marketing technique that’s all the rage today could be obsolete or rendered toothless tomorrow. A strong, smart advertising strategy will employ multiple robust channels to minimize this risk.
Ad-blocking software can indeed be a publisher’s worst nightmare, but only if the publisher fails to understand and respond to it. Get your readers on your side and make dynamic advertising just one part of a well-rounded plan, and you can block AdBlock Pro’s negative impact on your business!