The value and role users have in the online ecosystem is of central importance. The web was essentially created for them. If there were no people interested in content, then there would be no burning need for content. And these users have had to battle through a lot of changes over the years in search of an acceptable (and sometimes with luck more than acceptable) online experience.
Part of that evolution is that with the advent of more aggressive advertising, users have installed ad blockers on their devices in increasing numbers. And many of those users no longer see ads. Period. Thus, that central element to the online value exchange (the user) is removing themselves from the game.
Or maybe not.
From ad blocking to ad filtering
The truth is, there are various ways that ad blocking is carried out today. And far greater in number than those ‘scorched earthers’, who decide to block everything, are the amount of users with ad blockers in place who practice ‘ad filtering’.
In short, most ad-blocking users do see ads, however, the ads they see are less in number and less intrusive. This actually makes users more receptive to seeing them, and more receptive to the brand messaging therewithin. This is exactly what Acceptable Ads stands for – the intrusive ads are filtered out. The Acceptable Ads Standard creates a threshold, a level of ‘accepted’ ads that users have consented to see. In fact, over 90% of users who have Adblock Plus as their ad blocker have Acceptable Ads enabled on their devices.
Invasive advertising does not go over well with users, but lighter, approved versions do. It’s a chance to say, ok, let’s all be fair.
And here’s the crux of it all: 71% of US online ad-blocking users polled in eyeo’s recent Ad Blocking Report stated that they understood that publishers rely on advertising to keep their content free.
There is room to get along. Users just want to be heard, and they understand the importance of a fair online value exchange far better than they are being given credit for. Again, just look at the numbers.
CCM Benchmark: A Great Example
As we’ve learned through our recent collaboration with French publisher CCM Benchmark, the question isn’t even why publishers should care about user experience, but rather why there are not more publishers paying attention to something that has become a driving priority for many large publishers around the world.
CCM Benchmark is a leading digital media company with various well-known websites in France such as Commentcamarche.net, le Journal des Femmes, le Journal du Net, and they are very committed to users and user choice.
Jean-François Pillou, CEO of CCM Benchmark has commented: “Before working with eyeo, we thought that those people who downloaded an ad blocker were against advertising and thus had installed an ad blocker in order not to see any ads on our website. So we decided to respect their choices and defer from using any ad-recovery solutions, which would end up annoying our users even more. This decision was aligned with CCM Benchmark’s values as our website relies on the solidarity of our community and voluntary contributions from our users.”
Of course, through our joint collaboration, we helped them solve this problem by introducing them to Acceptable Ads. Acceptable Ads is a middle way allowing users to take more control of their experience, while granting publishers the chance to fair and sustainable monetization of ad-blocking users. The results have been great and the relationship with CCM Benchmark is going full-steam forward.
They, amongst other publishers, know that users are not the enemy. In fact, collaboration is a real and invaluable alternative to older forms of advertising.
We at eyeo believe that balance is key for a healthy online ecosystem, and we vouch everyday in our work for a fair and intelligent value exchange that also supports content creators.