The ad industry has seen a lot of changes this week. First came the news that Google was planning on filtering out invasive ads, and that it would provide publishers with a tool, funding choices, which would enable them to charge a fee to users to use third party blockers and the proceeds, would be split between Google and the publishers. Soon after, Apple announced that it would introduce a tool that would block autoplay video ads on its safari browser, and that it would tighten consumer privacy by putting an end to tracking of consumers’ online browsing habits.
While these changes can be regarded as a win for many consumers, the same cannot be said for the publishers.
“Companies that have a vested interest in controlling the consumer experience should not be setting industry policy,” said a publishing executive, speaking anonymously, for fear of ruffling the feathers of a platform partner. “When you have Google, whose primary business is really search, this does nothing to attack their core business. They’re creating filters on ads they don’t have a vested interest in, [whereas] it creates more demand for search because there’s less supply of other ad formats. The doomsday scenario is, it could lead to ad formats that favor the oligopoly.”
Taking autoplay ads out of publishers’ arsenal will have a disproportionate impact on small and independent publishers that are already strained by ad-tech demands, noted Geoff Schiller, chief revenue officer at PopSugar.
Other publishers think that enabling ad blocking on the platforms is not fitting for all contexts. For instance, a thirty second video ad playing before a TV show that one is looking forward to watch might not be considered intrusive, however the same ad playing before a thirty second news clip is regarded as intrusive.
“They’re taking something away from publishers that are struggling, but they’re not helping,” said Mendes. “It is necessary for the big platform players for the publishers to be successful and have a real business model. But all they’re doing is making their lives harder. Everyone is telling the publisher how not to make money, or to take their money.”