Advergeddon is Coming — How Will Web Publishers Respond?

What is Advergeddon? It’s the soon to be death sentence of third party ads across publishers sites, and if ad blockers have their way, ads as a whole, including native ones could disappear as well. Obviously, the wake of Advergeddon is a serious concern to web publishers who rely on advertising in order to draw revenue for their sites. Some publishers have fought to adapt to a web where ad blockers are increasingly becoming the norm by incorporating the use of native ads in place of easy to block third party ones, by incorporating their own products and services for sale, and by attempting to block ad blockers themselves. Despite these efforts, the threats of the extinction of advertising on the web as a whole remains very real. The question is, what options do publishers and advertisers have left?

Over the past decade the internet has seen a slow but strong migration from a web where advertising reigned, to one where ad blockers prevailed. Recently UK’s largest internet service provider “Three UK” has begun testing ad blocking as a native feature within their mobile internet service, effectively rolling out the feature to an estimated 500,000 users so far; you can read more about ThreeUK’s ad blocking initiatives on Wired: Three To Test Network Level Ad Blocking . Given the provider is now planning to block ads across all of its mobile services, and they’re the largest internet service provider in the UK, eclipsing the 98% mark, publishers are likely to feel the burn from these changes more sooner than later.

Some publishers have responded to the threat of ad blockers like Ad Block Plus and others by cutting back on, or doing away with third party advertising platforms like Adsense, which remain simple targets for ad blockers. Their answer? Produce their own products and services to sell directly to their audiences, or produce private advertising contracts where ads are run natively, often disguised as content in hopes of fooling ad blockers.

Without a doubt, the use of content driven native advertising is on the rise, and so far so good, it appears to be working for many publishers at present. Don’t be fooled though, it won’t be long before ad blockers catch up, forcefully bringing some of those native ads to a screeching halt.

Either way it goes, ad blocking is everywhere today, and it’s become a disease that threatens the future of the internet and its users access to information.

The demise of the traditional web based advertising schemes are leaving advertisers themselves in a world of digital uncertainty as well. While publishers stand to lose revenue, companies large and small are also feeling the strain. Businesses worldwide now rely on the web as their central point of connecting with consumers, but what’s the point of paying for advertising that will never be seen?

Adapting to Change:

One option for online businesses to better connect with consumers is through the use of social media. After all, ad blockers have a harder time penetrating the social spaces of the web, and often ads displayed through brand pages on popular social networks tend to produce another avenue for connecting with consumers on a large scale.

Take for instance the ads that are displayed within Youtube videos. You block the ads, you block the entire video! People say they don’t like ads, but the ads themselves are what pays for their access to the content they’re viewing. In the case of Youtube, internet users have a compelling reason to disable their ad blockers, so they can access their favorite channels. On other platforms like Google Plus, I’m yet to see an ad blocker that actually blocks ads within page posts. Even on platforms like Facebook, its more likely users will succeed in blocking ads within the sidelines of the page, vs. those seen in actual posts.

While social media alleviates some of the pain for marketers and the business entities they represent regarding the extended use of ad blockers, publishers themselves are still left in a tight spot. In fact, economic implications worldwide are costing the global economy on many levels as I stated previously in this article: How Ad Blocking Software is Destroying The Global Economy .

The only solid answer I can give publishers is to develop your own in house products and services to offer the public, this is the only sure fire way to survive the forthcoming Advergeddon. As publishers, our days of reliance on traditional third party advertising means are surely coming to an abrupt end. It’s either adapt or fail when it comes to media on the web today.

At present, the media organization I run is preparing to launch our own products and services, including social media marketing and brand management/building services on the web. It’s the only viable solution we can find. If you’re a publisher who has a strong audience, and you have the right products and services, there’s still money to be made on the web.

There’s still options for publishers to tap more into the e-commerce arena as well. On site stores, and even standalone e-commerce based websites and platforms like ebay and Amazon are still viable today.

In the end, the ultimate reality is that those who fail to adapt will cease to exist. In the coming years I predict much of the media we take for granted on the web today will disappear. Half of publishers will survive Advergeddon, the other half won’t. Those who do survive will likely consolidate control over even larger audiences as time moves forward.

As for third party advertising platforms, you can definitely expect them to disappear as well. The days of Google’s Adsense are surely numbered, and Google knows it. This is likely why the tech giant has been investing so heavily in alternate products and services, outside of its behemoth advertising platform for which it relies on for the bulk of its revenue. They know they need to find new streams of revenue, they’re adapting, and so should we as publishers.

Written and published by Daniel Imbellino — Co-founder of Strategic Social Networking. Connect with our growing community of over 120,000 professionals on Google Plus to grow your social strategies and get the latest industry news: Strategic Social Networking Community