September 08, 2015

Ad Blocking Far Exceeds Ad Skipping

It was about 9 years ago. I was sitting in a client board meeting.

The client was one of the biggest advertisers on the planet. The subject was the death of tv advertising. We had been reading all about the growth of DVRs, and how ad skipping by consumers was going to decimate tv advertising.

Consumers are going to record all programs, watch at their leisure, and zip right through the ads, we were told.

IBM had just issued a report called "The End Of Television As We Know It." 

The hysteria was palpable. What are we going to do?

I just sat there and rolled my eyes.

Sometimes success in the advertising business is about sitting quietly and letting clients proceed with their hysterical delusions.

But there's hope, we were told. Interactive advertising! Online advertising is going to allow us to gather a treasure trove of data about consumers. We will be able to use analytics to reach them individually. So we can tailor our messages to their individual needs, interests, and behaviors. They will actually welcome our messages!

Repeat eye roll.

Cut to today. According to Nielsen, in Q1 2015, DVR viewing represented about 10% of tv usage, and the incidence if ad skipping among DVR users is about 50%. So about 5% of tv ads are being skipped.

Meanwhile, in the magical land of "interactive" advertising, ad blocker usage is already approaching 20% in the U.S. and is up around 40% in the U.K.

In other words, the blocking of online ads is many times greater than the skipping of tv ads.

And online ad blockers aren't even mainstream yet.

As usual, the experts got it totally backwards. Consumer behavior is telling us that they are finding the oppressive and intrusive nature of online advertising far more obnoxious than tv advertising.

Where's the hysteria this time? Where are all the "online advertising is dead" stories?

The online ad industry is a cesspool of surveillance, corruption, and fraud.

Instead of working to clean up the corrupt, oppressive nature of their business, the astoundingly clueless Interactive Advertising Bureau (Inactive Advertising Bureau) is thinking about suing ad blocker developers. Yeah, that's it. Punish consumers for your ineptitude.

Adobe estimates that ad blockers are costing publishers over $20 billion annually. And Apple is reportedly about to allow ad blocking software on its new iOS9 mobile operating system.

It's wake-up time, fellas.

Reminder: Every weekday I dip in to The Ad Contrarian archives and publish a piece from the past. You can find it here on my Type A Group website.

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