This past summer, multiple German marketing companies sued the makers of Adblock Plus for affecting their revenue by blocking ads. This month, news broke that French publishers have done the same. If these lawsuits are successful, it could make a significant impact to online video, especially on YouTube.
Currently, one of the largest losses of revenue for creators is from users who have enabled Adblock. Adblock prevents ads from being served, allowing viewers to watch videos on YouTube without any interruptions. The estimated 144 million users of adblocking software worldwide are clearly casting their vote for uninterrupted internet viewing. Were the publishers to win, it would put a good bit of Adsense money in the coffers of creators.
Bad Ads, Not Adblocking, is The Problem for Video Advertising
So where does this leave you as an internet marketer? Well, you could keep up with the same old tired tactics of making overlay ads and preroll ads in video and hope that the publishers win their case. If that type of ad is currently working for you, there is certainly no reason to stop now. But more importantly, you should be spending effort creating more engaging, organic ads that viewers are willing to watch and interact with.
Take one great recent example. Arby’s has a standing deal with Pepsi to feature their product in at least two of their commercials a year. The only problem is that Arby’s forgot to do both ad placements this year. Their response was to essentially make fun of themselves with a full length ad, just for Pepsi, to satisfy the second required ad. To the best of my knowledge this is not being served as a pre-roll ad on YouTube and yet the video has racked up over 1.6 million views as of this posting. Rather than creating an unengaging ad, Arby’s has provided an entertaining video that has garnered both them, and their partner Pepsi, a ton of good will and eyeballs that WANT to see their video.
Eyeballs are important, make no mistake about it. The Superbowl is projected to garner $4.5 million for 30 second spots this year. But a key component that shouldn’t be forgotten is the willing participants. Part of the reason the Superbowl can charge so much for their advertisements is because the viewers look forward to the advertisements and watch them. Unwatched ads are worthless, whether they have been blocked or ignored.
Despite the industry's best efforts, Internet users are going to continue to use adblocking software if it's made available to them. I’m suggesting that as content creators and marketers focus on a different approach than what may have worked in the past. A new angle is required to entice users away from such software and to bring value to your brand, your message, and your content.