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US Publishers Unsure of How to Respond to Ad Blockers

Many companies don't know how to track how many users block ads

December 4, 2015 | Advertising & Marketing

Many internet users have begun to sour on the tradeoff of free content for ad views, turning to ad blockers as publisher ad loads seem heavy and intrusive. And many US publishers appear unsure what to do about it.

US Publishing Industry Professionals Whose Company Can Track How Many Users Are Blocking Ads on Their Site, Oct 2015 (% of respondents)

Less than 17% of publishing industry professionals surveyed by Cxense and Editor & Publisher in October said that their company can track how many users are blocking ads when visiting their website. In fact, a plurality of respondents (45.4%) were unsure if their company can do so.

That could be one reason why publishers are typically unsure how to respond—if at all—to ad blockers. Just 14.5% of those surveyed said their company has a strategy for dealing with the issue.

Even here, many respondents were unsure: While over half of US publishing industry professionals said their company is lacking a strategy, another 32.6% said they don’t know if a strategy exists.

US Publishing Industry Professionals Whose Company Has a Strategy for Dealing with Ad Blockers, Oct 2015 (% of respondents)

The overarching trend is uncertainty—about whether their own platforms are tracking users employing ad blockers, and whether they have a plan to deal with it. But as industry professionals wonder, ads are being blocked.

In the UK, publishers are worried about the ramifications of ad blocking, and see it as a growing threat to their business. Many are planning to counter it with pay walls and other tools.

These options are also being taken up by many US publishers, despite widespread uncertainty. A combination of pay walls, friendly reminders to readers that ads are they price they pay for free content, or less friendly notices that without turning off ad blockers, content will be blocked as well, are popping up especially on news sites.



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