Increased popularity of ad blocking solutions is a good sign for IBNs


12 April 2016 | Speaker: Sergey Khromov


There is a lot of white noise that online ads and pretty much any type of online messages are intrusive, useless and arrogant. Global use of ad blocking products has grown over 40% in the past year, with total monthly active users reaching 200 million globally. To some it may seem as being insignificant, as it represents a little over 5% of global Internet users but the trend is disturbing nevertheless. Especially so, because mobile ad blocking is still in its very early development stages with really insignificant numbers – but these numbers are sure likely to grow. And for operators it can actually be a positive sign, marking a good opportunity for monetization, subscriber retention and subscriber base growth...

People block ads because they are overwhelmed with them, they find online ads annoying and intrusive. So the clear emotional element here results in what seems to be the obvious response – advertisers show lack of respect for users, so users simply block ads because there is no other way for people to protect themselves from auto-playing, annoyingly-blinking, page-covering online junk. Unfortunately, ad blocking cuts people off from almost all online messages, including those that may indeed be useful, helpful and relevant to them. Ad blocking really complicates life for those who have a clear sense of fair play and also for operators, who face the risk of having their messages blocked as well. IBNs can help operators overcome this…

Good advertising enhances the value of the media where it is displayed and it applies to Internet experience just as well. It is crucial for advertisers to have the tools that will help them to really engage with subscribers and try and change their attitude towards online ads before ad blocking becomes a foregone conclusion.

IBNs are subscriber engagement solutions that improve subscriber experience and allow operators to advertise and upsell their own new products and services to their subscribers, as well as 3rd party offerings. IBNs are the tool that allows operators to partner with advertising industry to create the true online marketing-media ecosystem.

Engagement is indeed a popular word that is used frequently in the context of online ads but how many online ads really offer true engagement with users? What factors do operators need to address to capture the online ad initiative and monetize on it?

Subscriber engagement can be of three types – Emotional, Cognitive and Behavioral. The importance of each of these should not be underestimated. For example, the rise in popularity of ad blocking solutions is the result of negative reaction to online ads. Clearly a failure of Emotional engagement, leaving no room for Cognitive or Behavioral engagement. IBNs can help operator avoid this mistake and make subscribers proceed from Emotional to Cognitive (leading to positive awareness, interest and intent) and to Behavioral (when subscribers actually click on ads and follow the link with POSITIVE intent).

This is equally applicable to 3rd party ads, as well as Operator’s own ads and notifications. Without Operator’s own advertising, QoE and QoS will inevitably decrease. Without 3rd party ads, digital content quality and delivery will suffer and will lead to increased costs for subscribers. It is critical for site owners, publishers and operators to control Internet experience and prevent “trash ads” from being displayed there. IBNs must be equally efficient in all these types of subscriber communication and engagement, ensuring high QoE and QoS, reducing operators’ expenses and delivering value to subscribers.

For example, online video is considered to be the future of content marketing and its use by big brands is already surging. This is going to be a heavy hit for operator’s traffic that’s already being over-consumed by online ads. This in turn leads to higher costs for operators, longer download times and reduced value for subscribers. Unhappy subscribers lead to even more operators’ expenses. So it is no surprise that even operators are starting to consider ad blocking at network level because operator traffic should not be viewed as all-you-can-eat buffet.

However, as discussed in earlier post («Ad blocking by operators – to be or not to be?»), simply blocking ads by operators does not seem like an intelligent approach. Operators should use IBNs to monetize on their subscriber data and use this knowledge for efficient own upselling and external business expansion with advertisers. Operators need to control traffic and at the same time give advertisers access to their subscribers. Quality of content will be improved, relevance to subscribers will be increased, and operators’ monetization opportunities will be significantly broadened. Operator can separate message/ad traffic, to eliminate that annoying “these ads are eating up my traffic!” factor and block unwanted traffic.

This is why the increased popularity of ad blocking solutions is a good sign for operators. Subscribers demand better service and more respect and operators can deliver that. IBNs can and should be used by operators to:

  1. Establish meaningful and long-term partnership with advertising industry to increase the quality and relevance of online ads for subscribers, thereby increasing value for them.
  2. Give advertisers different points of access to its network, including IBN UI, via Open RTB platforms and other sources.
  3. Communicate and engage with subscribers through operators’ own ads and notifications.
  4. Send subscribers general messages, including government communication, emergency notifications, security warnings etc.

Operators need to attract subscriber attention with messages of distinctive format and relevant content – basic banners and standard pop-up windows are no longer efficient. Running text line, pop-ups with random content selection, questionnaire pop-ups for relevant polling, banner overlaps, captive portal for Wi-Fi monetization, personalized toolbar with direct subscriber account access etc. IBNs must support multiple message formats to enrich subscriber engagement and subscriber experience. This will be the focus of the next post…


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