Adam Salamon is co-founder and COO of Perk/Appsaholic
It’s over. Users have won the ad blocking fight. And the recent iOS 9 release that includes ad blocking, along with AdBlock’s new browser for iOS and Android, prove that publishers are the losers. Users have the control. It’s been a trend we’ve seen over the last decade, so how did the ad-tech industry believe it would end any differently?
The implications are significant, with ad blocking estimated to cost publishers nearly $22 billion in 2015 alone. Publishers that don’t want to bribe ad blocking software companies are at the mercy of users and their whitelists. And outside of asking users nicely to add a site to their whitelist, there’s not a lot publishers can do.
After all, for years the top browser extensions on Firefox and Chrome have been ad-blockers. Arguments on both sides of the user-publisher debate have argued whether ad blocking should be legal or at the bare minimum ethical. But with Apple, one of the most predominant players in the mobile world, declaring the user the winner, all arguments need to be put at rest. Users have spoken. Users have won.
Looking back over the last few years, it was clear that there was a war occurring between users and publishers. Publishers have been trying to squeeze as much revenue as they could out of every user, and users were doing everything they could to get away from those same ads and have a free, yet ad-free, experience.
What Publishers Can Do Now
There doesn’t have to be a loser. The only way for that to happen is to make sure that publishers and users unite to be a part of the solution. The equation is simple: happy advertisers + happy publishers + happy users = a mobile ecosystem where everyone wins.
At Perk, we’ve proven over the last five years that users will OPT-IN to an advertising based experience if they are given something in return. Our version of consideration for a user has been Perk Points, which we issue out directly on our own sites and apps or through Appsaholic, our arm that works with publishers to create better relationships with their users. In fact, we recognized user preferences early on, and over two years ago built ad blocking technology into our now-retired desktop web browser. It’s a model that we’ve found creates a certain tolerance for the advertising that users are growing more and more accustomed to avoiding.
We believe in the future, advertising will be a fully opt-in model. But, the only way users will opt in is if they get something that has tangible value in return. Apple is leading the way in supporting users in the battle to opt in. It’s something we completely support. And the best news is that publishers also have the ability to win by providing an ad experience that truly rewards users.