Public notes from the latest of the global stakeholders' discussions on adblocking. Contains the notes of a majority view of how to approached the blocked Web, better respect consumers and support publishers.
PageFair-DCN global stakeholders' roundtable on adblocking
Senior stakeholders summit on the
blocked Web, 25 April 2016
For review by participants
DCN and PageFair convened a roundtable discussion on the future of
advertising with senior stakeholders, held at MEC Global in New York.
The roundtable drew together senior representatives of consumer
groups, advertisers, agencies, publishers, and browsers.
The intention was to learn how to better respect users, support
publishers, and provide value to advertisers.
This was a follow up to previous PageFair roundtables at The Financial
Times in late 2015 and at Mozilla in London in March 2016.
Chatham House Rule
The meeting was held under the Chatham House Rule. Therefore
the views of individual participants are not recorded in these notes.
Main take away points
The following is a synthesis of points that emerged from the global stakeholders’ roundtables
(majority rather than consensus view).
1. On the blocked Web the user must have
immediate tools to reject and to complain
2. Rather than restore all ads on the blocked
Web only a limited number of premium
advertising slots should be restored. This
will make a better impact for brands, clean
up the user experience, and incentivize
3. The blocked Web may provide the
opportunity to establish a new form of
above the line advertising.
4. Contextual targeting can be used on the
blocked Web to establish ad relevance if
other forms of tracking are not practical or
5. On the blocked Web, where third party
tracking is largely blocked, publishers can
create new value by engaging with their
users to elicit volunteered data.
6. Measuring advertising success on the
blocked Web with broader top-of-funnel
metrics may incentivize buyers to focus on
value rather than cheapness. A second
benefit is that such metrics (example:
engagement time) can be unified across
digital and non-digital media.
7. On the Web as a whole there should be a
maximum pageload time standard that
publishers and advertisers both commit to.
The growing hazard of adblocking may
The causes of adblocking
There was agreement on the following reasons why people block ads
(these reasons are intentionally listed in no particular order):
•Ads obscure content
•Unclear user expectations and inconsistent ad experiences
•Slow website load
•Because they can
These reasons fall in to three categories: user experience (annoyance,
obstruction), performance (security, page load time), and privacy. Data
cost is an additional motivating factor in developing countries where data
costs are high.
There was agreement that blame for this situation was shared among all
industry stakeholders. In part this is the result of a focus on cheapness at
the expense of value, and of an overabundance of ad inventory supply.
We organized this roundtable to save the open Web
A growing segment of Web users see few or no ads. We are witnessing the
collapse of the mechanism that has supported the diversity of content on
the open Web since the 1990s. But even as blocking of advertising harms
publishers it also creates a new set of opportunities.
Adblocking has created a ‘blocked Web’ where virtually all ads are blocked. Even
so, the technology exists to display ads on the blocked Web. Therefore, while
agencies and advertisers use established measurement and targeting on the
normal Web, the blocked Web provides them with a new and separate
opportunity to respond to blockers with contextual targeting that does not track
users, and to communicate on a new and uncluttered online arena.
It is this parallelism – the ability of agencies to pursue advertising beyond
blocking while at the same time maintaining their existing channels – that will
give publishers an opportunity to sustain themselves beyond adblocking, and
which will bring new value to advertisers while respecting the user.