When it Comes to Ad Blocking, Personalization is the New Scale

While the debate over ad blocking has long centered on the struggle between publishers and ad blockers about the ability to display ads, less attention has been paid to whether or not these ads should be displayed at all. If marketing is about meeting consumers’ needs, then more than 75 million US consumers have already said, simply by installing a blocker, that they don’t like the ads being pushed at them. That is a lot of people and doesn’t even include the vast majority of consumers that browse the web without blockers, but rarely or never click ads, and perhaps no longer even “see” them in a truly conscious sense.

While ad blockers and “non-clickers” have existed for a long time, it appears that they’re starting to have a major impact on ad efficiency based on a few actions that happened last year. JPMorgan Chase cut its ad volume by nearly 90% early in 2017 and saw the exact same results. P+G, in the second quarter, took more than $100 million out of its digital marketing budget to curb “ineffective” ads and announced in July that growth wasn’t impacted. YouTube dealt with an exodus because advertisers were concerned about placement across its vast and opaque network. On the sell side, demand for DSPs is rapidly decreasing as too many platforms compete over not enough inventory.

At the end of the day, marketers (like brands) want results, and it’s becoming clear that personalization – not scale – is the best way to get there. Whether consumers are blocking ads or corporations aren’t buying them, the end result is fewer ads in the ecosystem. As demand for ads continues to drop on both the consumer and advertising side, a couple ideas that marketers have been talking about for a while move closer to becoming the reality.