Is It The End for Ad-Supported Websites?

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Adotas is launching a series, Online Advertising: Life After Mobile Ad Blocking.

iOS 9 was released this week and the tools for developers to create ad-blocking software are incorporated into the operating system. This will give mobile users the tools they need to block ads as easily as desktop browser users do when using AdBlock Plus and other such apps. The number of ad-block users is already troubling: In the U.S. it’s estimated to run around 16% of Internet users; in Europe it’s much higher. Now that mobile is becoming an ad-block zone, the numbers will skyrocket.

Why is this happening?
Writing in Venture Beat, Dylan Tweney points out that it’s becoming clear that “readers are finally getting fed up. Fed up with incessant banner ads, obnoxious pop-ups, and videos that automatically start playing when you load a page. Fed up with fullscreen takeovers that force you to find, and click, a tiny “x” before you can read the article you actually came for. Fed up with cookies and widgets that track their every move online, allowing advertisers to target them with increasing precision. Did you look at an underwear website a few weeks ago? You’re going to be seeing ads for underwear every time you visit Facebook — or any of dozens of other sites — thanks to retargeting software that lets the underwear maker target ads to you based on the fact that you expressed a fleeting interest in their product.”

So the question for anyone interested in online marketing is WHAT’S NEXT?

Online publishers and marketers and ad networks are hoping it’s native advertising. But truth is users know advertisers are trying to fool them and resent it. So what’s left? Well some sites can try to create another revenue stream (but that does nothing for the ad network industry or folks trying to get the word out about a product). Others can offer only the most high-value ads to a premium audience. But that eliminates most websites and ads. And some sites can set up paywalls that get folks to fork over some nominal fee for access to content. That’s never been widely successful.

So where do we go from here? That is the multi-million dollar question and one we will be exploring in depth in the coming days and weeks.

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