I’ve chosen not to wade into the waters of the ad blocking discussion until now because I didn’t know that I’d have anything to say that has not been said. I am not an online advertising expert, and was not sure what commentary I could provide that would help anyone.
But I’ve chosen to join the conversation here because there are far too many marketers, publishers, consumers and small business owners out there who either don’t think this issue is worth paying attention to, or are too confused by the flood of different messages contained in the articles written on this topic every day.
Ad Blockers are here to stay. That’s something we all must admit if we are even going to start having an intelligent discussion about the future of the internet.
Publishers and advertisers can complain all we want. That won’t change the facts. There is no going backwards.
Second, we must acknowledge that this was always going to happen. It’s amazing that it took this long for ad blocking to catch on at this level, sparking the kind of alarm it has.
Third, the sky is not falling. Doomsday predictions abound, with people calling for the death of online publishing, or the death of the internet as we know it. Those predictions are far-fetched attempts to draw in readers, truly click-bait at its worst.
The future of the internet will almost certainly look different, because that’s the nature of the technology. Publishers and advertisers alike must adapt to the world around us, and that means finding new, better ways of communicating with consumers and earning money to support our operations.
We are all consumers, even the publishers and advertisers that ad blocking hurts. We wear both hats, and we must be able to see the issue from both sides. Online ads are annoying. Not only that, they impede our ability to fully enjoy the internet by slowing it down or causing so much frustration that we give up.
Online advertising must get better. And ad blockers are going to help us get there, by creating a sense of urgency around the issue.
And in the end, we’ll all be better off for it. That doesn’t mean that each of us will survive. Some publishers may be forced to cut back or shut their doors completely. Some advertisers might lose their ability to grow their business effectively.
But just like in nature, the strong will survive, and likely thrive. And the global user experience will take a gigantic step forward.
It’s time to accept a new reality and move forward, not fight back.