The Association for Online Publishing (AOP) has launched a comprehensive Ad Blocking Guide to demonstrate the scale of the problem, share best practice, and examine collective industry action to tackle the issue 

LONDON, UK: The Association for Online Publishing (AOP) has unveiled its comprehensive Ad Blocking Guide, sponsored by Vibrant Media, following a year of consultation with members, trade bodies, and key industry players.

During 2017, the AOP has hosted a number of ad blocking workshops, forums, and steering groups to discuss, debate, and agree ways forward. The 24-page report summarises key learnings to date, addressing the potential financial impact of ad block usage and sharing examples of initiatives that have demonstrated success.

The guide includes an audit among AOP members to determine revenues lost to ad blocking, approaches from leading publishers Gruner + Jahr and Dennis Publishing, as well as tech vendor perspectives from Instart Logic, Jamatto, PageFair, Uponit, Sourcepoint, and Oriel. The report also features an ad block consumer study by Vibrant Media, looking at the reasons why consumers block ads.

Richard Reeves, Managing Director at AOP, commented: “There has been somewhat of an assumption that ad block adoption has peaked and is now on the decline. But the reality is that, as an industry, we don’t fully understand the scale or potential cost of ad block usage as new technologies are impacting the ability to measure the true extent of the problem.”

Reeves added: “After thorough investigation into the issue, ad blocking clearly remains a top concern for publishers, so we must now look to take collective action. Based on our research, offering consumers a choice about disabling their blocker or opting into ads seems most effective – highlighting that education remains a critical element in the fight against ad blocking. Beyond this, we are in conversation with our members about joint action and collectively communicating the benefits of free premium content to users, particularly focusing on groups of specific verticals as a first step.”

Richard Brindley, Chief Information Officer of Vibrant Media said: “Many consumers using an ad blocker are totally unaware of the impact that they are having on the availability of free content and the publishing industry more generally. Nor do they know that ad blockers demand money from publishers to have their ads whitelisted. Publishers need the revenue from digital advertising to pay professional content developers – including journalists, photographers, film makers, cartoonists, artists and more – as well as technology and operational staff, so consumers can get a high quality digital content experience for free. However, publishers must do their part to remove the reasons for anyone to want to download an ad blocker in the first place. They should only deploy light, encrypted, Ad Choice supported and non-invasive digital advertising.”

The Ad Blocking Guide is available for AOP members to download here.