a reply to: Akragon
I'm not going to "defend" some of the more aggressive online advertising tactics, merely outline some unfortunate truths
about the evolution
of the media landscape.
The Audience Paradigm
As the New York Times and other news sites with full or partial paywalls have discovered, in order to realize break-even revenue off subscriptions,
you need an audience willing to pay for content that's at least 20% of the size of the audience who wouldn't pay for it. Meaning, if there are
100,000 daily visitors to free ad-supported content, you need at least 20,000 willing to pay before ads can be removed or scaled-back.
In our case, ATS, even we suspect that every daily logged-in member would be willing to pay some level of monthly subscription, it's still only 4% of
the monthly audience that visits the site.
The Digital Advertising Marketplace
For mid-market sites like ATS, the advertising options have changed significantly. After years of consolidation and shifts to "robotic" buying of
advertising space through ad exchanges and automated marketplaces, the revenue-per-impression has dropped by nearly 75%, across the board, over the
past 10 years.
While we do have a firm that represents premium ad spots on ATS, and occasionally sells high-value ad campaigns, the direct-sell volume has remained
flat over the years. This is common among all the other mid-market site owners I talk to.
For top-market sites like major news/entertainment sites, it's not as difficult. Their higher-value volume and demographics do reasonably well on
those automated ad exchanges/marketplaces.
Yes, pop-up and video-overlay ads are rather desperate techniques to get audience attention in an increasingly diluted and crowed online content
marketplace. While irritating for you and others, the data is showing that there is some success -- and not just from accidental clicks.
The Direct Marketing Association has been collecting data on the efficacy of these more intrusive ads for nearly five years. Their model measures not
just clicks-to-purchase, but retention and long-term consumer awareness. Meaning: if you seen an ad for a type of Gieco insurance product in a video
pop-up, the long term data supports overall consumer awareness in that product, and ultimately improved sales as a result.
Yeah, I know, for experienced Internet users, we might think the data is flawed, but don't forget, we are the aberration in the much larger
The Cookie-Blocking Fallacy
I'm going to say something rather unpopular here; blocking third-party cookies will make your ad experience, across all website, much worse -- if not
If you, like me, accept ads as the fair-trade of the content you want to read, consume, or watch, then blocking third-party cookies from advertising
networks/servers is among the worst things you could do for your online experience. Those cookies are used primarily to "remember" the ads you've
seen, where you've seen them, and which ad you should see next. If the technology at the ad network cannot find a cookie for you, then you are
relegated to the crap pile, and get the lowest-value ads in their inventory -- often over-and-over again because there's no way to track the
frequency with which you see all the ad creative that you hate.
Also, for those video pop-in, roll-in, scroll-in, or slide-in ads: you'll see them way too often. Most of the ad suppliers for those types of ads use
the cookies to manage frequency caps -- meaning they don't want to show you more than one or two a day of those types of ads.
SIDE NOTE: I've never blocked or deleted any cookies, ever, in my entire time online unless it was for troubleshooting something I was doing.
This doesn't diminish your frustration with irritating ad tactics, merely explains the origins, and perhaps offers one way to see an improvement.