Half of your online ad spend. Wasted.

Online advertising attracts blockers
X marks the spot that makes online ads so annoying. Illustration by Sam Manchester, The New York Times

Industry marketing sheet WARC has miserable news for online advertisers.

Apparently fully half of online ads are ‘non-viewable’ due to ad blocking, bots and similar issues, a leading executive from Moat, the advertising search and analytics firm, has argued.

Jonah Goodhart, CEO/Co-Founder of Moat, discussed this subject during a panel session at the Advertising Research Foundation’s (ARF) Audience Measurement Conference 2016.

More specifically, he reported that its data – which is based on tracking “hundreds of thousands” of ads each day across mobile and desktop – indicates the scale of the problem facing brands.

“About one out of five pages are being blocked. Couple that with, generally, pretty similar numbers that we show [in our analysis] of viewability, and about half of all ads are non-viewable,” Goodhart said.

“Approximately 20% [of all online advertising] is being blocked; half are not viewable; and 5% to 10% are invalid – or non-human – traffic,” he said.


Drilling down into the numbers, he revealed that the rise of ad blocking is currently slightly more rapid outside America.

“About 19% of all ads globally are blocked by ad-block software. In the US, it’s 17%. Non-US, it’s 24%. Globally, that averages out to 19%,” said Goodhart.

Based on Moat’s slate of statistics, he warned that remedial action must be taken by brands and publishers, with improving the consumer experience a priority.

“We have fundamental, foundational challenges in our industry. And this is about the consumer at the end of the day,” he asserted. “Consumers are voting, and they will continue to vote by their wallet – by what choices they make in terms of how they’ll view our content.”

And he argued that only by finding ways of encouraging their audience to change behaviour will marketers be able to re-dress this situation.

“We have an obligation to them – and to ourselves – for the sustainability of our industry. And we’re not there yet. The user experience on the web, on mobile, and on desktop is not where it could be,” Goodhart said.

MOP logoAt MOP we both echo and applaud Goodhart’s logic.

For generations we have known that making advertising entertaining, relevant and inherently interesting has been the key to its success. It doesn’t matter in which medium.

Boring newspaper ads get turned past. Boring radio ads are wallpaper. Boring TV ads aren’t as interesting as looking at our phones pr tablets, and that’s if we don’t just zap straight past them anyway.

If we want people to welcome advertising online, it simply has to be better advertising, delivered more intelligently. Perhaps we should say, “better content”.

It has to deliver value in a way that can’t be duplicated elsewhere, not just a greedy grab for eyeballs. Eyeballs that are all intent on doing something else.

Advertising is an intrusion. And in today’s media savvy and tech savvy world, if you’re going to intrude, it’d better be good.

Author: Stephen Yolland

Director of Creative Strategy and Partner @ Magnum Opus Partners.

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