The Push Towards “Non-Annoying” Advertising – Implications for Digital Advertisers

Adblock has unveiled a new feature that allows “non-annoying” ads to be displayed. As someone who lives and breathes digital media on a daily basis, this is a pretty big deal (in my humble opinion)! I thought it was an important update to share with our clients.

Adblock is a free extension launched in 2006 that allows individuals to block advertising. Here are some nuts and bolts of how it works…

  • Adblock looks at the filename of ads and filters out the ads with filenames that are a match to a string of text in a Filter List.
  • By default, most English speaking people are subscribed to a Filter List called ‘EasyList’. There are 11 million people who use this list on a daily basis (source: https://easylist.adblockplus.org/en/).
  • Click  here to view the text that the ‘EasyList’ filters.

Key takeaway:  Clients who want to avoid having their ads blocked should make sure the filenames for their ads do not contain any of the text in the ‘EasyList’.

This latest development launches a by-default feature that displays ads deemed acceptable (note that users can disable this feature at any time to continue blocking all ads). Websites and advertisers can apply to be white-listed and they must comply with the Adblock criteria.

So what exactly does Adblock mean by “non-annoying”? Here are their criteria:

  • Advertisements must be static (i.e. no animations or sounds).
  • Text only ads are preferred.
  • Attention-grabbing images are not permitted.
  • Ad placement:
    • Page content should never be hidden or obscured by ads (for example ads that force visitors to click to close the ad before they can see a website page).
    • Ads should not be placed in the middle of text where they hinder the flow of the reader. Note that ads above, below or on the side of the text content are considered acceptable.
    • On search results pages, organic results and paid results cannot be intermixed.
    • Ads that are displayed above the content on a page should not force the visitor to scroll down.
    • Ads that are displayed on the side of content must leave enough room for the main content
  • All ads should be clearly marked with the word “advertising” and they should be distinguishable from the page content (for example by using a border and/or different background color).

For complete details on Adblock’s criteria, click here.

While many internet marketers turned to annoying advertising tactics (think blinking messages and roll-overs to name a few examples) in an attempt to draw attention to their message as click-throughs plummeted and ad blindness increased, consumers responded with the use of Ad-blocking technology.

Adblock has rolled this out to allow their users to support websites that rely on advertising to stay online, but display ads that are non-intrusive. They even have an acceptable ads manifesto you can sign (https://acceptableads.org/) to encourage better advertising and clean up the web from obnoxious advertising.

More information can be found on the Adblock website.

This does not mean that all is lost with online ads. To be successful with digital advertising, your organization must evolve with the changes, understand the implications and implement strategies to reach your target audience, in spite of this technology.

Need some guidance for developing campaigns and navigating the changing online media landscape? Not sure if your advertising meets the criteria or if you are running ads with sites and publishers that have a relationship with Adblock? We can help! Contact us today to talk digital advertising.

About the Author:

During the week, Devin Rose is eBridge’s Account Manager managing online media campaigns and media buys. Devin draws upon his varied marketing experience to help eBridge customers maximize their online marketing campaigns. On the weekend, you just might find him whipping up some mouth-watering southern barbecue.

Posted December 2, 2015
Categories: Blog, Advertising and Marketing General
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