Content you consume online helps you study for your college degree, research for that big presentation at work, lighten your mood after a tough day, plan your next trip around the world, or make the perfect pecan pie. It enriches our existence at every level, every step of the way.
We are constantly improving our lives via the uninhibited access to a seemingly infinite amount of content on the web, produced by millions of writers that are experts or evangelists in their field.
The world wide web has made all of this possible. It’s free at the point of access. And advertising dollars have paid for it.
But now, that model is under threat.
In recent years digital advertising has become increasingly less effective. Consumers have become disenfranchised with traditional online ads.
This initially manifested as a phenomenon commonly known as ‘banner-blindness’, but more recently, it has escalated to something a lot more serious.
In response to the digital industry not moving away from it’s dependency on ‘intrusive’ forms of advertising fast enough, consumers have voiced their concerns in a big way – by installing ad blockers.
Advertising is not inherently evil. But it is annoying, according to the tens of millions of users that have installed ad blocking software.
The rate at which consumers are adopting ad blocking software is staggering. And if it continues at the rate it has so far, it may not be long before we start seeing publishers downsizing, producing less content, shutting altogether or erecting paywalls for lack of revenue.
So we need to move quickly to save the ad-funded web.
Amongst all of the noise emerging around ad blocking at the moment, it is important to develop a good understanding of who we are. So here we will lay our cards on the table.
First off, I want to make it absolutely clear that we are not declaring war on ad blocker users. We acknowledge ad blocking as a valid consumer signal that the ad-funded web needs to change for the better. And that’s exactly what we are looking to do.
Content is the product at risk here, and content is also a big part of the solution.
Sponsored content, that is.
Over the last eighteen months we have been successfully monetizing ad blocker audiences on nearly one hundred publisher sites – using nothing but sponsored content.
And… it works. Ad blocking consumers love content, not ads. And the more engaging the content, the more impact it has for marketers.
We’re putting real dollars in the pockets of publishers by connecting sponsored content experiences with their ad blocking audiences.
Importantly, we’re going to be working with publishers to build sponsored content environments that enhance the overall experience of their properties.
Over time, the value that can be driven from this will become higher and higher.
To do this right, we will be collecting user feedback on an ongoing basis to ensure our product is being developed the right way. Consumers will be very much involved in the process.
Ultimately, we’re excited about the future and believe this problem is solvable. But to get there, all stakeholders will need to work together. We’ll be publishing our findings on an ongoing basis, and hope this will inspire others to work with us anyway they can.