Brand safety and the unblocked web

The PageFair Team Adblocking Leave a Comment

“Brand safety and the unblocked web” presents the findings of a research collaboration between the UK advertisers body ISBA, the Advertising Research Foundation, and PageFair. It shows how adblock users actually react when shown ads that adblock tools cannot tamper with. It also shows how this “unblocked” audience of adblock users responds to brands shown in those ads. Over 2,300 study participants were shown LEAN display format ads on several premium websites. These ads adhere to the Coalition For Better Ads initial standard, and address adblock users’ legitimate UX, bandwidth, and security grievances. ISBA, the ARF, and PageFair found that the unblocked audience is brand safe. Indeed, adblock users react more favorably to advertised brands than regular users in some cases.…

Adblock’s impact on website traffic

Dr Johnny Ryan Adblocking 2 Comments

This whitepaper, “The Hidden Cost of Adblock”, presents the primary findings of research by Professor Benjamin Shiller (Brandeis University), Professor Joel Waldfogel (University of Minnesota and the National Bureau of Economic Research), and Dr Johnny Ryan (PageFair). It reveals that adblock has a hidden cost: it not only reduces small and medium publishers’ revenue, it reduces their traffic too. Every 1% increase in adblocked web traffic produced a 0.67% decrease in site traffic for small and medium sites. Significant adblock usage by a website’s audience usually causes a temporary boost to its page traffic. This short term effect occurs because adblock users can enjoy the site without advertising. Over three years the majority of websites sites with high adblock rates saw their traffic levels significantly decrease relative to other websites.…

Eyeo’s Toothless Acceptable Ads Committee

David Barton Adblocking Leave a Comment

Eyeo, the owners of Adblock Plus, recently revealed an external “Acceptable Ads Committee” to legitimize its extortion of publishers. The committee has considerable powers to alter the “Acceptable Ad” standard, though the process for doing so is difficult. But this control is illusory. The rules that Eyeo has written for this committee mean that its members have no power.

PageFair endorses the initial standard of the Coalition for Better Ads

Dr Johnny Ryan Adblocking Leave a Comment

PageFair has endorsed the Coalition for Better Ads’ initial standard for better advertising. PageFair CEO, Sean Blanchfield, said: PageFair will align itself with your initial standard henceforth. I commit that PageFair shall serve only the most tolerable formats, per the Coalition rankings.
It is my hope that we will together improve the quality of advertising on the web, and thereby sustain the medium and the publishers that give it substance. Click here to read his letter  What ad formats are not permitted under the Coalition’s initial standard The Coalition’s research determined that the following formats are below its standard of acceptability and increase the likelihood that a user will install adblock.[1] Desktop Pop-up Ad (with or without countdown) Auto-playing Video Ad with Sound Prestitial Ad with Countdown Large Sticky Ad at the Bottom Mobile Pop-up Ad (with or without countdown) Prestitial Ad (with or without Countdown) Postitial Ad (with countdown) Ad Density Higher Than 30% (30% single column; 35% multicolumn; and 50% multicolumn) Flashing Animated Ad Auto-playing Video Ad with Sound Large Sticky Ad Full Screen Scrollover Ad   Research   The Coalition’s findings on which advertising formats prompt users to adopt adblocking echoes PageFair’s own work to understand adblock users’ tolerances for ad formats over several years.…

Scott Cunningham, IAB TechLab founder, on advertising in crisis (interview podcast) 

Dr Johnny Ryan Adblocking Leave a Comment

In 2015 Scott Cunningham, the founder of IAB TechLab, told world “we messed up” on behalf of the advertising industry. His was the first major industry mea culpa that began a shift toward addressing user problems with advertising on the web. When we spoke last week I challenged him about the IAB’s DEAL strategy on adblocking, which he devised, and which may lean too far toward recommending that all publishers restrict access to users. His response is worth reading, and makes clear that DEAL is not an all or nothing approach. Only a small number of publishers with very exclusive content may be able to sustain a strategy that blocks adblock users from visiting their content. Most can not. Scott shared the background to the IAB’s LEAN principles for more respectful, subdued advertising formats.…

Facebook’s Q4 earnings prove how to respond to adblock

Dr Johnny Ryan Adblocking Leave a Comment

Facebook’s Q4 earnings now prove what its Q3 earnings had indicated: the unblocked web – when used appropriately – is an opportunity for marketers.  From August 2016 onward Facebook deployed tamper-proof ad serving to show ads to users who have adblock installed on their machines. Before doing this it listened to users to identify and fix problems that adblock users had with its ad formats.[1] Last week Facebook’s CFO, David Wehner, told investors and analysts on an earnings call for Q4 that “desktop ad revenue grew 22%, despite a decline in desktop usage, helped by our efforts to limit the impact of ad blockers on advertisements served on personal computers.”[2] This builds on Facebook’s Q3 earnings, when Wehner revealed 18% growth in desktop ad revenue.…

2017 Adblock Report

Matthew Cortland Adblocking 6 Comments

PageFair is pleased to release our 2017 adblock report. The state of the blocked web presents a combined picture of desktop and mobile adblock usage for the first time. Mobile adblock usage is growing explosively in Asia and is set to spread to North America and Europe as well. This report also includes the results of our latest survey of adblock users, which used improved screening questions to specifically identify adblock users.…

Ten Key Things That Happened in Q4

Dr Johnny Ryan Adblocking, GDPR Leave a Comment

Amid the blizzard of press releases and conference tidbits concerning media, advertising, and adblocking, only some really matter. Here are the ten key things that happened in Q4. OCTOBER 1. US Department of Justice examines possible agency shenanigans.  It transpired that the US Department of Justice had launched an investigation into rigged bids that unfairly favored advertising agencies’ in-house services over others, at clients’ expense. The Association of National Advertisers’ report into agency kickbacks, released in June, exposed agency practises that shortchanged clients, and several big brand CMOs launched audits of their agencies. But the DOJ investigation now raises the stakes for agency executives: previous investigations in 2002 resulted in prison sentences. 2. Media consolidation AT&T agreed a deal to purchase Time Warner for $85.4 Billion.…

The Rules of Adblocking: How Block Lists Work

David Barton Adblocking Leave a Comment

This note is a layman’s guide to how the “block lists” that power adblocking work. A block list contains tens of thousands of rules that govern how a website should be displayed. There are two types of rules. “Filter” rules define what should be blocked. “Exception” rules define what content should be displayed. The most popular block list, “EasyList”, contains tens of thousands of these filters and exceptions.