The following article is a call to action. Publishers need to rethink advertising and the user experience. We are presently caught in a deadly loop where the user experience become worse and worse as publishers try to monetize their content. The more publishers try to eek out money through advertising, the worse the experience for the user, the quicker the user is driven away from the site, and the more advertisements the publisher tries to add which just accelerates a losing spiral of experience, which ultimately culminates in the user resorting to ad blocking software which kills any revenue the publisher might have received from their content.
For me this issue is very similar to the signage issue that many cities were facing in the 1980s. To have customers find their businesses, stores, gas stations, and restaurants made larger and more obnoxious signs, until you couldn’t find anything because of the visual clutter assaulting your eyes as you drove down a street. Cities finally put signage rules into place to eliminate the visual clutter and make it possible to find the business you were looking for again. We’ve hit the same point online, where the visual clutter is killing us. The user experience is atrocious. This is one of the reasons we have created Adaptifyed. We have a patented non-persistent advertising format that allows you to declutter your site, create a great user experience, deliver a high quality, high viewability advertisement to your users that makes your advertisers happy, and you can monetize your site without drowning it in ads.
With that said,read Jason’s article and join the conversation:
The Collapse of Advertising 1.0?
The first 20 years of online advertising helped fuel the growth of the Internet, but have often been marked by a deterioration of the audience experience.
Publishers, who are paying journalists, artists and other creators to produce content, were understandably intent upon maximizing revenue from the content that they provided to readers and viewers online for free. But as a result, many digital platforms have permitted advertising of increased volume and interruption.
In parallel, a panoply of advertising technology companies were increasingly looking to harvest audience data, which benefited the publisher little and increased the risk of alienated audience members.
And so, as more intrusive ads competed for attention, the following pattern evolved on desktop: Every user will be interrupted more. Every advertisement will be worth less. Personal data will be misused more often.
The irony is that the more aggressive advertising and ad tech companies became, the lower readers’ tolerance became. Users have now taken action. So many people are now making themselves immune to advertising that, according to research released by PageFair and Adobe, publishers will lose billions of U.S. dollars in unrealized ad revenue this year. Two hundred million now block all ads. These people may never see an advertisement online ever again.
Advertising 1.0 created a downward spiral that will ultimately destroy itself.
The phenomenon is viral. PageFair and Adobe’s 2014 survey found that just under 81 percent of ad blocker users had heard about ad blocking by word of mouth from colleagues, friends or family, or by reading about it online. This directly reduces the capacity of publishers to fund or develop content production.
The Open Web
Advertising 1.0 is in danger of collapse. Publishers are in the same situation now as the music industry was in the early 2000s. Back then, the music labels, like today’s publishers, were unable to present listeners with an attractive transaction. For seven years, from the arrival of MP3s on the Web in 1996 until Apple launched the iTunes Music Store in 2003, the music industry failed to offer digital consumers an attractive alternative to piracy. As a result, users rebelled and refused to pay for music, and the music industry was forced to accept Apple’s rules.
If you are a publisher, a marketer or a consumer body and are interested in the future of sustainable, unobtrusive advertising that respects users and sustains publishers, please make contact. Join the discussion.
Jason Kint is the CEO of Digital Content Next; reach him @jason_kint. Vincent Peyrègne is the CEO of the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA); reach him@newspaperworld.