Fixing the Digital Advertising Environment

February 2, 2017

Ad blocking increasingly threatens the health of the internet, mobile, and digital marketing. New troubling statistics have just been released regarding ad blocking – the practice of installing software on a computer or mobile phone to stop advertisements from showing up in a web browser. According to a report from PageFair, 11 percent of worldwide internet users utilized ad blockers to avoid some form of digital advertising in 2016. This represents a 30 percent increase from 2015 and equals tens of billions of dollars of lost revenue for online advertisers and the internet economy.

Since online advertising provides the financial underpinning for the internet through funding for websites that do not operate behind a paywall, ad blocking has the capability to undermine severely the internet’s success, hurting general internet and mobile users and businesses alike. Clearly, the vast amount of content and information that users constantly receive due to the financial support of advertisers can only be maintained if this economic foundation is not allowed to be seriously eroded.

The advertising community is actively stepping forward to meet and counteract this challenge. In May of last year, the Joint Boards of the ANA, the 4A’s, and the IAB met solely to discuss the ad blocking challenge. Since that time, ANA and a broad segment of the ad community have taken active steps forward by helping to create the Coalition for Better Ads (CBA). CBA works to “leverage consumer insights and cross-industry expertise to develop and implement new global standards for online advertising that address consumer expectations.” We are making major progress in developing data in the U.S. and worldwide on what aspects of advertising are creating the highest levels of consumer annoyance and ad avoidance. We believe that shortly we will be able to provide criteria and data to help advertisers significantly mitigate these problems and lessen incentives for ad blocking.

ANA believes that these efforts, as well as those by others operating in the digital marketing space, will present a major improvement in the online experience for consumers and help to drive further advances in the internet and mobile economy. We continue to reach out to all segments of the ad community to maximize their participation in the CBA efforts in order to accelerate the momentum to meet the ad blocking challenge and to optimize the digital advertising experience.

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