Forrester senior analyst Susan Bidel will appear Oct. 29 at AdExchanger’s Programmatic I/O conference, an event dedicated to the advancement of programmatic media and marketing.
The ad industry’s collective hand wringing over ad blocking reached a fever pitch in September during Advertising Week in New York City.
In reality, however, it’s far from a block apocalypse. Ad blocking isn’t new, having existed on desktop for years before Apple’s iOS 9 update turned it into an inescapable topic of discussion.
But that doesn’t mean ad blocking isn’t a wake-up call, said Forrester senior analyst Susan Bidel.
“If consumers become aware of the fact that they’re sacrificing their data plans and spending money to see ads they don’t even want to see in the first place – ads that are too heavy, too data rich and that slow down performance – that’s the worst possible scenario for any publisher,” said Bidel, referring to a recent article in which The New York Times tested the mobile sites of 50 popular publishers with and without ad blockers enabled.
Boston.com took the dubious first-place prize for most data consumed. Ads took an average of 30 seconds to load – the equivalent of 32 cents worth of data for simply visiting the Boston.com home page. Turning blockers on cut that down to eight seconds.
Although not all mobile sites tested by the Times were as egregious, there was an appreciable improvement for the majority of publishers under the publication’s microscope.
The Los Angeles Times, for example, took 11 seconds to load sans blocker, compared to four seconds with. An ad blocker shaved the load time for the Chicago Tribune to 3.5 seconds from 9.5 seconds. Even The New York Times enjoyed a speed boost, loading in four seconds rather than seven when a blocker was unleashed.
It’s an unfortunate situation. But hey, if bad UX is the problem, a better UX is the solution.
“With the move toward viewability standards, awareness of ad blocking and the battle against fraud, we’re moving toward a more high-quality user experience all around,” Bidel said. “Not only would that mean a better environment for consumers, but more marketers spending on digital.”
AdExchanger caught up with Bidel.
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