Viewability was a dominant concern for all advertisers in 2014. With the rise in ad tech, this movement is expected to continue in 2015, with attention turned towards ad blocker software.
A Google study raised the question about how effective display advertising on the digital platform actually is. In a report titled "5 Factors of Viewability", the online giant has turned a few long held beliefs about digital display ads on their head. One of the most pertinent points that Google raises is how many ads are actually seen by visitors. Almost 56.1 per cent are not says Google.
Ad blockers have been gaining traction by users wanting a faster, ad-free browsing experience. However, the fact is that ad blocker companies monetize by charging ad companies to let their ads bypass the blocking software.
These days, thanks to programs like Adblock Plus, netizens get to protect their browsers against unwanted ads. Growing popularity of ad blockers comes as companies plough more and more money into internet advertising.
The prevalence of ad-blocking increased 69 per cent worldwide between the second quarter of 2013 and Q2 2014, according to a report titled "Adblocking Goes Mainstream" from Adobe and PageFair.
Although the study did not break out growth in ad blocking by country, Adobe and PageFair surveyed a sample of 1,621 Internet users to find out their characteristics and ad-blocking motivations. More than one-quarter of respondents, 27.6 per cent, reported using ad-blocking software, although only 45 per cent installed an ad blocker because they did not want to see any advertising.
Of the remaining respondents, 49 per cent wanted to "remove ads they found especially annoying," and 31 per cent expressed concerns about their online behavior being monitored, saying they had installed ad-block software to prevent third-party cookie tracking or "remove ads that seem to know which websites I visit."
India perspective: experts speak
“Ad blockers have become popular amongst the consumers as it helps in faster and better browsing experience. I believe that this is not going to be a big problem as this format would evolve as securely knitted with the part of the content,” said Manav Sethi, Group Head – Marketing and Digital Products, AskMe.
Suresh Eriyat, Founder and Creative Director – Eeksaurus, too shares a similar view. “The nuisance value of ads online has become much more than what one watches on television. You don’t miss any part of the content when you watch ads on television. You would just have to put it on mute and wait. Online ads have become a necessary evil but are also paving the way for the future. The more one moves away from selling, then only such ads can work. For example the Diwali Kit Kat ad was chosen to be viewed by the audience rather than a hindrance to their program. Therefore, brands will have to become more creative in the content that they create and look to making short stories in new formats rather than just aiming to sell the product. It is a creative exercise and brands will have to work harder in this direction,” he said.
According to Leroy Alvares, President, Rediffusion Digital, “Ad-blockers have been around for a while, and they don’t seem to have made much of an impact yet. The masses aren’t bothered so much with the ads, to bother with installing ad-blockers. Traditionally in India, we have always accepted that with content consumption, comes advertising. So ad-blockers may be a ticking bomb, but there’s some time to spare. That said, digital is a smart medium. People will always find out ways to get stuff for free, and it is up to people in the business to figure out ways of outsmarting them.”
Shikher Gupta, Head of Digital Marketing at Videocon Industries said, “I look at anything that enhances customer experience as a welcome move. We need to ensure customers look at digital as the first media choice and then provide them with valuable content. Disturbing a customer is not what we want.”