Ad blocking by operators – to be or not to be?


30 September 2015 | Speaker: Sergey Khromov






Advertisement blocking is something that we wish for when we get exposed to any kind of media today, not only Internet. However, Internet occupies most of our lives now and it is natural that high usage attracts more and more advertising. We see ads everywhere when we browse the web – to most of us they are annoying, intrusive, arrogant and most of the time they are of very little use to us. We pay very little attention to them now and the efficiency rate of these ads is so insignificant that it is a surprise that companies still pay to use them. But nevertheless, these ads work. Most of us at least once have found these ads useful and bought something that was advertised on the Internet.

Recently we have been seeing some interesting and very different approaches to give operators a chance to make some money from online advertising – the money that currently bypasses most of the operators today. This is not the first time we see this topic being bought up. Back in 2013 there was an operator in France that simply blocked all the online ads in their network, leaving Google and the like outside the party door, unless they wanted to share profits with that operator. Similar approach has been brought up again very recently. Back then the triumph of that particular French operator didn’t last very long – the government stepped in. So what makes us think that it will work this time?

Operators can block traffic easily through DPIs. It may not be as precise as what some specific carrier-grade ad blocking solutions on the market today can offer but the topic of ad blocking is certainly not new. However, is blocking ads by operators really the right approach?

Many operators are currently searching for solutions that will allow them to monetize on the knowledge that they already have about their subscribers and use this valuable and unique data to target their subscribers with truly relevant ads, notifications and messages that are as closely related to subscribers’ interests and requirements as possible. Such subscriber data is goldmine for advertisers, as it gives them opportunities for genuinely targeted approach. Most of the operators today do not have their own online advertising solutions (with exceptions like Verizon who recently acquired AOL online ads) and almost no online ads are integrated with operators’ subscriber data.

So it is evident that operators and online advertising solutions must not only coexist but also mutually benefit each other. Operators need to have their own solutions – this will give advertisers the choice of when to use standard online banner ads from Google or when to use customizable subscriber engagement solutions from operators for superior subscriber segmentation along with advanced and appealing subscriber experience. Simply ad blocking by operators is an approach that is driven (or rather blinded) by short term potential benefits but it will hit a dead-end already in the medium term.

Subscriber engagement is key. It is not enough to simply fire some banners at subscribers, hoping they will hit the spot – operators and advertisers today must engage with customers, taking into account subscriber needs, behavior and interests. Operators already have most of this data, while additional data, including valuable and unique statistics and analytics, will be derived from flexible, customizable and intelligent subscriber engagement. This means that operators will be able to give advertisers the ability to see the future and understand today what their customers will want tomorrow. One of such advanced subscriber engagement solutions is top offering from Jet, called Jet Toolbar. It is a powerful solution that ensures efficient interaction with subscribers, while maintaining superior content and context enrichment. It allows operators to perform deeply targeted, precise and very advanced subscriber engagement and traffic management, with complete operator control. As an additional bonus for subscribes, Jet Toolbar allows operator to manage traffic so that ad traffic will not be charged to subscribers – one of the main points of concerns for subscribers today, who unwillingly pay for Google Ad traffic and the like.

Significant commercial effect from such subscriber engagement is achieved by operators and advertisers not only through traffic monetization but also increased subscriber loyalty. Engagement is not annoying or intrusive. On the contrary, when done right (i.e. when proper targeting is employed) it is appealing to subscribers, thereby increasing QoE and QoS for operators and positive brand perception and increased sales for advertisers. Loyal subscribers are very important to operators, because they are willing to explore and try new services and products that operator has to offer. Powerful and intelligent subscriber engagement solutions allow operators to also advertise and upsell their own new products and services to their subscribers, thereby monetizing the internal (subscribers) and external (advertisers) revenue opportunities.

It is critical to encourage operators to employ such subscriber engagement solutions, monetize on their subscriber data and use this knowledge for efficient own upselling and external business expansion with advertisers. It is intelligence of such solutions that shapes brighter future for operators and advertisers alike. Simply blocking ads does not seem like an intelligent approach.


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