IAB Australia taking multi-pronged approach on adblocking

By Alison Lowe | 25 November 2015
IAB chief executive Alice Manners.

Off the back of a UK study revealing that just 61% of Brits would rather see ads than pay for content, Interactive Advertising Bureau Australia will launch a study in Australia next year to assess consumers' understanding of the ad-funded content model.

IAB Australia CEO Alice Manners also revealed that the organisation is also set to launch what it calls the L.E.A.N. Ads Program, to help publishers improve the ad-viewing experience for consumers.

The two steps represent the next stage in IAB Australia's response to the rise of adblocking, which has come to the fore since Apple's move to allow adblockers in September 2015. PageFair and Adobe have projected $US41.4 billion in potential ad revenue blocked next year on a global basis.

Manners said she believes publishers must take more responsibility for user experience, identifying and understanding what is annoying to their audiences, causing them to turn to adblockers.

“If the consumer is installing ad blocker technology they must be annoyed by some sort of an ad unit, so let’s focus on an optimal user experience. These are the principles that will help guide the next phases of advertising technical standards for the global digital advertising supply chain – and ultimately help us an industry improve the experience for consumers, while also supporting our industry,” Manners told AdNews.

But the other component is ensuring that awareness is raised among the general public of how the internet is paid for. Manners said that up until now, the average Australian had “no need” to understand how much of the internet's content and services have been enabled by an ad-funded economy.

“It’s a harsh reality – but without advertising, this content and services wouldn’t exist, or the cost for their production and distribution would come directly from consumers' wallets.  I think those of us in the industry know and understand this, but I’m not sure if the average Australian consumer completely comprehends this economic reality.”

Manners said she believes the results of a recent UK study seem to suggest that if more Australians understood that content is free because of the ads, then perhaps they may not choose to block ads. 

IAB UK conducted a survey earlier this monthly, assessing consumers responses to learning that using adblocking would mean some websites would have to stop providing free content or charge people to use them. 

Interestingly, 61% of adult respondents online said they would prefer to see ads while they accessed content for free rather than pay to access content.  Only 4% of respondents indicated they were willing to pay for content.

“IAB Australia plans to conduct a similar study in Australia in 2016 to assess the landscape and how important or necessary it might be for us to generate awareness of the ad funded internet economy amongst online Australians – and we’ll be listening closely to their responses,” Manners added.
 

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