Global stakeholders discuss new approach to the Blocked Web

Dr Johnny Ryan Adblocking, GDPR, Uncategorized Leave a Comment

From late 2015 onward PageFair drew together global consumer groups, advertisers, agencies, publishers and browsers for senior level roundtable discussions on adblocking. These were held at The Financial Times, at Mozilla, and at MEC Global. The most recent roundtable was organised by both PageFair and Digital Content Next.

Participants at the PageFair roundtables included the World Federation of Advertisers, the 4A’s, DCN, the World Association of Newspapers, the National Newspaper Association, International Federation of Periodical Publishers, Havas, Google, Mozilla, the Centre for Democracy and Technology, the EFF, the Open Rights Group, the European Commission, the UK Government, the World Economic Forum, and many others including the global advertising holding companies.

A majority view has now emerged from these roundtables.

How to approach the Blocked Web

The following points are a majority view of global stakeholders at these roundtables of how best to reach users on The Blocked Web. They reflect a common view that emerged through roundtables on both sides of the Atlantic and may be useful for the development of L.E.A.N. and other guidelines.

  1. On the blocked Web the user must have immediate tools to reject and to complain about advertising.
  2. Rather than restore all ads on the blocked Web only a limited number of premium advertising slots should be restored. This will make a better impact for brands, clean up the user experience, and incentivize better creative.
  3. The blocked Web may provide the opportunity to establish a new form of above the line advertising.
  4. Contextual targeting can be used on the blocked Web to establish ad relevance if other forms of tracking are not practical or desirable.
  5. On the blocked Web, where third party tracking is largely blocked, publishers can create new value by engaging with their users to elicit volunteered data.
  6. Measuring advertising success on the blocked Web with broader top-of-funnel metrics may incentivize buyers to focus on value rather than cheapness. A second benefit is that such metrics (example: engagement time) can be unified across digital and non-digital media.
  7. On the Web as a whole there should be a maximum pageload time standard that publishers and advertisers both commit to. The growing hazard of adblocking may incentivize this. 

See the public notes from the latest roundtable here.

These points from the PageFair-DCN roundtable incorporate and build on previous take aways from the PageFair roundtables. Taken together these points give publishers an opportunity to sustain themselves beyond adblocking, and which will bring new value to advertisers while respecting the user.

Even as blocking of advertising harms publishers it also creates a new set of opportunities. Adblocking has created a part of the Web called “The Blocked Web” where virtually all ads are blocked. Even so, the technology exists to display ads on The Blocked Web in a manner that adblockers can not circumvent. Therefore, while agencies and advertisers use established measurement and targeting on the normal Web, The Blocked Web provides them with a new and separate opportunity to respond to blockers with contextual targeting that does not track users, and to communicate on a new and uncluttered online arena.

While agencies continue to use existing channels on the normal Web they can also use the points listed here to pursue new opportunities in advertising on the Blocked Web.

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