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Industry Insight

Print: The Antidote for Ad Blocking?

By Dr. Joe Webb
Published: June 23, 2016

Ad blocking is getting bigger, according to research by eMarketer. The believe that the number of people using ad blockers will rise +34% to almost 70 million, and then rise in 2017 to 86 million. I am one of them. Ad blocking has made for horrible web browser performance, and has become so annoying that I avoid going to them (are you listening Forbes? I don’t want your “lite” ad experience either). Some web pages won’t even open in Firefox without the ad blockers: that seems to be computer dependent. Everyone seems to like blaming Adobe Flash and not the programmers who make the ads. I’ve rarely had the problem with Google Chrome. Whatever the case, this is a problem of the advertisers own making.

Is this print’s chance to make a flanking move back into the marketing budget? The eMarketer analyst says “Ad blocking is a detriment to the entire advertising ecosystem, affecting mostly publishers, but also marketers, agencies and others whose businesses depend on ad revenue.” He then says, “The best way for the industry to tackle this problem is to deliver compelling ad experiences that consumers won’t want to block.”

That sounds a lot like how the builders of the great sailing ships reacted to the arrival of the steamship. They built bigger ships with bigger sails. It didn’t work. The best way to go around the ad blocker is to make a flanking move, to reach those targets with a different medium. Hmmmm… let me think… could print be one of them? Look also for an increase in sponsorships by big brands of events of all sizes. Those can be print stimulative for signage and other opportunities.


State of the News Media: A Worthwhile Read

Pew has released their annual overview of news media, and it’s well worth the time to update the understanding of media relationships, especially print. The website has it all, but you can also download a PDF of the entire document. Poynter had an interesting analysis of the report.


Dr. Joe Webb is one of the graphic arts industry's best-known consultants, forecasters, and commentators. He is the director of WhatTheyThink's Economics and Research Center.


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