The first installment of the MonetizeMore Thought Leadership Interview Series features Marty Kratky-Katz, CEO of BlockThrough.com. Blockthrough is a solution that helps publishers monetize their Adblock users without upsetting them. Marty gives us his insights on the state of ad blocking and how it will impact the industry in 2019 and beyond.
Read the full Interview below!
Question 1: Is ad blocking a “necessary evil” to a more innovative, more transparent advertising ecosystem?
MK: I think that’s a fair statement. While I don’t think ad blocking will necessarily make the ecosystem more transparent, it is spurring much-needed innovation around making online advertising less interruptive and annoying to users.
Already, a couple of new industry standards have arisen as a result of the adblocking phenomenon, including the Acceptable Ads standard and the Better Ads standard.
As these standards mature and evolve, we’ll see more AdTech companies launch innovative products and features that will ensure publishers can maximize their monetization while still adhering to these standards.
Question 2: Ad Block usage will continue to gain momentum in 2019 and beyond, what are some of the strategies ad networks and publishers can use to counter this?
MK: For publishers, there exists a variety of approaches, which we’ve summarized in our Quick Reference Guide to Adblock Recovery.
Most publishers see the greatest success by serving a lighter ad experience (i.e., one that complies with Acceptable Ads) to adblocking users who are opted in to see Acceptable Ads.
This is why we at Blockthrough have focused our efforts on this approach, and others like AAX and AdRecover see success with it as well.
The reasons why this approach is most successful are as follows:
- a) It allows the publisher to monetize the majority of its adblock traffic (typically 60-90%, depending on the site)
- b) Users have consented to see Acceptable Ads
- c) It doesn’t interrupt the user’s experience or ask the user to change their behavior by turning off their adblocker
- d) Unlike the “Adblock circumvention” approach, CPMs & fill rate can be strong, and the revenue gain is consistent & sustainable.
For AdTech companies (including networks, DSPs, SSPs, etc.), the best strategy is to lean into Acceptable Ads and work with knowledgeable vendors in the space to improve the availability of ads that comply with the standard.
Question 3: Will we see more programs like the Acceptable Ads Program launched by the team at AdBlock? If so, how will these programs affect digital advertising?
MK: No, I think that’s unlikely.
The goal of Acceptable Ads was to create a single universal standard for what constitutes an “acceptable” advertising experience for Adblock users, who are more sensitive to bad advertising practices.
Creating new programs not based on Acceptable Ads would probably detract from the legitimacy of Acceptable Ads. That’s also why control over the standard was turned over to the independent Acceptable Ads Committee (“AAC”), which is governed by a group of relevant stakeholders familiar with the ecosystem, including users, publishers, advertisers, AdTech, etc.
That said, speaking as the head of the AdTech group of the AAC, there are currently some notable limitations and blind spots within the current version of the standard, and our goal is for the standard to evolve and grow as the industry develops.
For example, the current version of the standard lacks explicit guidance around video ads, so the AAC has commissioned research around user attitudes towards video ads, with the aim of developing a complete standard that works for all publishers, even those focused on producing video content.
We hope you enjoyed our first segment of the MonetizeMore Thought Leadership Interview series. More innovation, better compliance with programs like the Acceptable Ads Programs, and the ability to adapt to industry evolution are key to creating a healthier, more transparent advertising space.