For a long time I endured annoying online ads. But no more. Now I use an adblocker and I encourage everybody else to install one too.
"But, but … how … no … wait … this attitude will result in the death of journalism. Say goodbye to good content online!"
Seriously? Who decided that good journalism and high-quality content is dependent on shitty advertising? Are you telling me that unless I submit myself to distracting advertising, the Internet will turn into a huge pile of excrement?
No, there must be alternatives. I don't want to waste my time (and mobile data plan) on slow, intrusive, and useless ads. And I'm not the only one, because adblocking is growing by the minute. In the U.K. 22% of internet users already have an adblocker installed. In many other countries the figure is even higher.
I realize this is a big struggle for publishers, but you don’t solve a problem by banging your head against the wall. And traditional online display advertising is exactly that! Trying to stubbornly do something, which so obviously is against what the consumer wants.
Some publishers have solved this. I don’t know exactly how, because I’m not an expert in this field. I’m just looking at this from the perspective of a content consumer. But apparently you can make a paywall/subscription based model work, especially in niche segments like finance and sports.
In any case, it won't be long before everybody uses adblockers. Either they install it themselves, or it comes automatically from the browser/OS, or it's performed on the network level by an internet service provider. Some carriers are already doing this. And Apple just took a big step forward by allowing adblocking on iOS.
So what to do if you want to advertise online? Well, first and foremost: don’t cluster bomb us with shitty advertising!
Instead, ask the consumer if he or she would be willing to receive timely, smart, non-intrusive and useful advertising among the desired content. You’d be surprised how many are willing to whitelist your site, especially if you keep your promise about the ad quality. I've recently whitelisted many sites.
The world is getting more and more complex and all businesses, including the publishing and advertising businesses, must evolve. Solutions that might have worked 15 years ago don’t work anymore.
The rules of online advertising have changed and publishers need to find new ways of monetizing their online content. If your business model relies solely on traditional display ad sales, you're finished.