Unlike business-to-business (B2B) online media, the business model of online consumer media is nearly 100 percent focused on generating traffic, clicks and views. (B2B online media uses a business model that is focused on who uses a site, not just how many clicks they generate.) Because consumer websites need to boost a lot of traffic, consumers who use the web are bombarded with click-bait pop-ups, automatic animation, audio and video, and slideshows featuring what child actors look like now that they are adults. Such blinking and screaming ads are annoying on a desktop or laptop computer, but they are even more obnoxious on the small screen of a smartphone—the largest and fastest growing segment of online usage.
The online audience is responding with outrage
Blinking pop-ups and instant video techniques have led a growing number of web users to download “ad-blocking” extensions to their computers’ web browsers.
In a 2016 report, Juniper Research predicted ad blocking could cost publishers $27 billion globally in lost ad revenue by 2020.
Some 615 million devices are blocking ads globally, and 380 million of them are mobile, according to PageFair’s latest report on ad blocking. Mobile ad-blocking usage quickly grew by 108 million year-over-year to reach 380 million active devices globally by December 2016.
Google, Apple and online consumer marketers respond
In September 2016, Google, Facebook, the IAB and major advertisers formed the Coalition for Better Ads, a cross-industry group that builds on much of what an earlier initiative, the LEAN Ads program, encompassed. And in June 2017, the newest version of Apple’s Safari included Intelligent Tracking Prevention for both mobile and desktop.
Should B2B advertisers be concerned about ad blocking?
The business model of business-to-business (B2B) online media is less focused on the quantity of traffic and more on the quality (and decision-making role) of individuals who are using the sites. Unlike consumer websites, B2B websites serve a small community of professionals who can make major purchasing decisions.
However, ad-blocking technology that is baked into a browser may not discern the difference in the ads appearing on consumer and B2B websites. That means that B2B marketers must educate their users to add their URL to website “whitelists” that work much like email white lists.
In other words, B2B websites will be punished for the poor practices of consumer websites.