By Richard S. Eisert and Truan Savage
Ad blocking software has long been a concern of agencies, marketers and publishers, but recent developments (particularly the expansion of ad blocking technology to the mobile environment) have pushed the issue to the forefront. Now both marketers and publishers are beginning to fight back.
On the more aggressive end of the spectrum, some publishers are considering legal action against ad blockers. It will take some time, however, for any such lawsuits to play out. While the industry works through potential litigation, publishers are continuing to look at practical ways to engage users and deter the use of ad blockers.
Other publishers have resorted to restricting access to content either by erecting paywalls or, as demonstrated recently by The Washington Post, testing technology that prevents users running ad blockers from viewing certain content. It remains to be seen how successful these approaches will be among consumers who are increasingly accustomed to accessing content for free.
Marketers and their agencies have also begun to focus more on content and environments less likely to be blocked. This has contributed to the prevalence of native advertising, as well as increased reliance on branded content and in-feed advertising on social platforms. Similarly, some publishers have been improving the quality and relevance of ads on a page, while also limiting the number of ads. This approach makes sense, since it is said that the use of ad blockers is on the rise largely due to increasingly intrusive and annoying ads.
No matter the approach, advertisers and marketers should take steps to ensure they are not being charged for ads that have been blocked. Technology – like a sophisticated ad server – can help ensure you are not paying for ads that never appeared.
Richard S. Eisert is a partner in the Digital Media, Technology & Privacy Practice Group of Davis & Gilbert. He may be reached at 212.468.4863 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Truan Savage is an associate in the Advertising, Marketing & Promotions Practice Group. He may be reached at 212.468.4956 or email@example.com.