You can’t just block ad-blocker users, argues Domain’s Melina Cruickshank

Blocking users of ad blockers from seeing content is not the right approach to solving issues around the growth in ad-blocker usage, Domain Group’s Melina Cruickshank has suggested.

Speaking at today’s Mumbrella 360 conference on the “adblockalypse” which is facing publishers due to the rise of intrusive online adverisments, Cruickshank said publishers shouldn’t “annoy the consumer”.

“I don’t think you can tell them what to do and block them, they’ll just go elsewhere, there’s too much choice now,” she said.


Cruickshank: The industry needs to move fast on finding solutions to the rise of ad-blockers

“These companies, they control a huge majority of the media in Australia, so educate, tell people what’s going on and tell them that strong, quality journalism in Australia -you’re going to have to pay for it. That’s the reality.

“I don’t think the option of blacklisting or blocking people is is the way to go; the consumer and the audience always comes first.”

Cruickshank’s comments follow on from rival publisher News Corp revealing it will soon test blocking users of ad-blockers from accessing News Corp publications, with News Corp’s Damian Eales saying ad-blocker users are “destroying” the media firm’s business model.

Imogen Hewitt, head of strategy for Havas Media, was in agreement, saying education around the revenue model can change the behaviour of ad-blocker users resulting in them “white-listing” a website through their ad-blocker which sees that site’s advertisements appear.

“There’s some work we’ve been doing globally – researching if people understand the relationship between advertising revenue and free content, and if they do, does that change the way that they behave?” she said.

“If you are explicit about that relationship we have found most people are prepared to take advertising – and, interestingly, to share data about themselves, in exchange.

“But I don’t think any of us as an industry have been particularly clear on this. If you collectively point out that our journalists are paid through advertising revenue and the content you’re receiving would not otherwise exist so you need to whitelist us to access our content, we find that yes, people are willing to.”

Cruickshank said the industry needs to move fast on finding solutions to the rise of ad-blockers.

“There’s no point trying to avoid this to the point where it’s not going to happen. For us, talking from a publisher point of view, a lot of our revenue growth is coming from content integration.

“We have ads that are very contextual that generate leads for our customers; we put a lot of effort into it. That’s the way we can grow and not rely on display advertising,” she said.

“It’s good. It’s a new chapter in digital advertising, we need to respond pretty quickly.”


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