Our online experience has, overwhelmingly, become a visual experience dominated by the power of images and video. An image, in particular, is a powerful communication medium. Images are highly emotional and engaging. They affect us profoundly. Just consider this recent image that has become an icon of protest action in the United States:
Just two years ago, programmatic advertising sales and placements accounted for a mere 20% of ad spend, according to the IAB. The industry has changed fairly dramatically and programmatic now accounts for roughly 67% of ad spend in the USA, alone. That represents a 39.7% increase from 2015, according to an eMarketer report.
Mobile devices are deeply personal and increasingly capable devices. They are always with us, in reach and deeply attuned to our changing contexts. As they have become more capable, we have increasingly resorted to them for information, research, online shopping and when we just want to relax and have some fun.
Advertising solutions that rely on Big Data can still deliver good user experiences. In publishing, the Catch–22 is that readers generally want great quality content but for free. The publishing industry’s solution is ad-supported content which has a pretty simple proposition:
As a publisher, your business model is probably focused on ad-supported content. The good news is that consumers want more content. Specifically, they want high quality, reliable content. Reuters conducted a poll of 1,230 of its members in April 2016 which was covered by Digiday’s article titled “Reuters finds readers want quality news, but aren’t willing to pay for it”:
Startling mobile ad blocking trends have emerged from PageFair’s 2016 ad blocker report titled “Adblocking Goes Mobile” and PageFair’s findings paint a troubling picture of the emerging mobile, ad blocker landscape. At the same time, the data point to possible solutions for publishers as they seek more sustainable revenue models.
User experience lessons from the Ad Blocker War are shaping both how publishers monetize their sites and the conversations they have with their readers about this. Successful strategies to address ad blocking are emerging and are typically varied. One of the key lessons is that focusing on the user experience challenges that drive ad blocking in the first place, is an effective strategy for improving ad revenues. I’ll explain how in this article, using a case study of a major US tech publication to illustrate the point.