Facebook to Take on the Ad Blockers

Facebook to Take on the Ad Blockers

Social media giant digital advertisements.

Users have long complained about the intrusive nature of digital ads, and ad blocking software has become extremely popular thanks to its ability to completely remove distracting ads from sites. Website publishers and industry giants like Facebook hotly contest the use of ad blockers, arguing that digital ads are a revenue generating necessity and that without them most publishers simply would not have the money to run their sites.

However, the vice president of Facebook’s ads and business platform Andrew Bosworth has stated that the new technology is not an attempt to capture lost revenue; he’s claiming the company simply want to “help lead the discussion” in the ad blocking debate, and that they’re doing it for “the principle of the thing”.

It’s hard to imagine that the monetary factor didn’t play a part in the decision making. Facebook’s total ad revenue for the second quarter of 2016 was USD 6.24 billion, an increase of 63% on the previous quarter. While this is impressive, Facebook stand to make even more money from their ads once the new technology is rolled out. The Interactive Advertising Bureau estimates that 26% of U.S. internet users utilize ad blocking software, and Facebook consider the software to be such a threat to business that the company added it to its annual securities filing as a separate risk factor earlier this year.  

Bosworth noted that forcing users to view ads could have a negative effect, and as a result the new technology will come with features to allow users to control the types of ads they see. Facebook is also working to ensure that any ads displayed on the site are relevant and non-interruptive. The new technology will be relatively easy to implement as the social media leader loads ads onto its platform itself, whereas most web publishers and media businesses use third-party services more susceptible to ad blocking software.  

The decision is unlikely to go down well with ad blocking advocates, but it’s not unreasonable to expect a business to protect vital revenue streams. The fact that Facebook are aware of how damaging ads can be to user experience and their commitment to improve ad delivery could set a new and less aggravating digital advertising trend among website publishers.

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