In the digital advertisement market, the growing systems and usage of adblockers by web surfers and consumers have resulted in growing tension between adblockers and ad-based revenue companies such as Google and Facebook(as the two companies controlled 64% of the digital ad market in 2015). Adblockers have become increasingly popular as consumers feel forced to watch slow-loading or intrusive advertisements. In fact, Google has reported that they spend large portions of their advertisement revenue on ensuring that these ads still show up on its sites despite the adblockers. As a result, Google recently claimed that it is an “industry effort” to define the criteria and standards of acceptable ads.
If adblockers block all commercials, then how will Youtube secure its before-video advertisement value and revenue? This year, Google is aiming to further develop and define an acceptable ad program, which qualifies or whitelists certain “unobtrusive” advertisements. The question then comes down to what exactly defines an “unobtrusive” advertisement? While Google still has not released its detailed structure or analysis of acceptable ads, publishers have expressed their disapproval of how Google has the right to decide “what should be acceptable and what’s not,” hoping that Google could respect publisher’s input and judgements. To further develop the whitelist ad programs, Google has been conducting research through IAB(in-app Billing) to understand how consumers react to different types of advertisements and edit L.E.A.N standards, which defines why consumers block ads. In the acceptable ads list, users will be able to input their preferences on the intensity of the advertisement filters in their browsers. However, Adblock Plus automatically displays acceptable ads without users’ edits in settings.
According to Eyeo, the owner of Adblock Plus, the whitelist is free for small-sized sites, because “it takes a lot of work for its small team to whitelist a big advertising network or publisher.” In contrast, according to the Financial Times, large companies such as Google, Microsoft, and Amazon paid Eyeo 30% additional ad revenues to keep the whitelist. Based on Business Insider’s interview with a top executive of an advertisement-revenue based company, the company is satisfied with this partnership for it ensures certain advertisements to be displayed. Though only bits and pieces of information on the continuously updating structures and definitions of acceptable advertisements are exposed to the public, after our class discussion on the auction for advertisements on search engine websites, it’s fascinating to understand how the adblockers and acceptable ad structures are interacting and evolving over time.