|Why Facebook Represents a Fearsome Opponent for Ad Blockers
By: The Drum
The news that Facebook is going to stop users blocking ads is very welcome.
While you can argue that ad blockers give users power over what they are exposed to online, they also damage the businesses of companies that depend on advertising revenue, and it’s good to see a company like Facebook, with both scale and great technology, fighting back.
Data from the IAB earlier this year says that 22 per cent of UK internet users use an ad blocker, and that the numbers are rising. It varies quite a lot by gender – men are more likely to block – and by age – the younger are more likely to be blocking. People generally block ads because they don’t want to be interrupted – for example pre-roll ads before videos – or because they don’t want to be tracked by the ads.
Ad blocking essentially works by spotting content that is coming from a different place, and preventing it being displayed. For example, with a newspaper site, the editorial content comes from the newspaper’s own URL and the ads come from an ad server URL. It’s therefore easy for an ad blocker to stop any the content that is not from the newspaper’s own URL. Using ad servers to serve adverts, a different source to the site content, allows advertisers to more accurately target their messaging to consumers, based on factors like their location, content they have consumed and more; and it allows them to target their audience across multiple sites. The ads in the sport section of a physical newspaper will be the same for all readers; the ads in the sport section online most likely won’t be.
What Facebook seems to be saying it will do is disguise the source of the ads so that ad blockers can’t tell that they’re ads. Facebook is famously great at technology – the site and app both work extremely well and load very quickly – and so it is likely to be a fearsome adversary for the ad blocking companies.
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This article was published by The Drum. A link to the original appears at the end of this post.
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