Often when I meet someone I’ll introduce myself by saying, "I am an entrepreneur, I run a video advertising company." Their first reaction is always the same, "God! It is because of you that I am forced to watch all those ads when I want to see a video!" A smile follows, but it looks more like a grimace.
I try to explain. At Teads, we do not force advertising, we do not place ads inside video streams, such as skippable or non-skippable pre-roll, and we do not use interstitials. Our video ads are simply inserted inside the articles of the most respected media sites, and the user has no obligation to watch them. They can ignore them, and they will stop automatically. Generally, at this point, in order to convince my interlocutor that my job is not to bother the users, I add: "The media absolutely needs advertising revenues to live, but it is true that they should avoid using aggressive advertising formats that destroy the user experience".
My interlocutor nods. Everybody understands that advertising pays for journalist’s salaries. But they also see too many bad practices that have been spread all over the Internet, and this cannot continue anymore.
If the media does not cease using forced advertising formats, consumers will massively equip themselves with ad blockers. In Germany, the home country of Adblock Plus, 60% of pre-roll video ads are already blocked on desktop, according to a well-informed source. Ad blockers are now coming to iPhone with iOS9, so watch out! This will be a Tsunami!
The media may be more or less aware of the situation, but they are struggling for revenue. Which is why they often still accept intrusive ad formats that are ruining the user experience.
So should we be pessimistic, and conclude that the whole media ecosystem is going into the wall? It might be too late to stop the ad blocker wave.
But there is still time for premium media to adopt a strategy that gives priority to the user experience. By doing so they will benefit from a virtuous circle: more frequent visits, more content consumption, and a better brand image. And speaking of brands, shouldn't advertisers question the value of their campaigns when they rely on forced advertising and impose a painful experience to their customers?
What is for sure is that we are coming to the end of an era. The advertising industry is no longer the Wild West where anything goes and the wishes of consumers take a back seat.
Internet advertising will have to respect the users.