By Phil Barrett
Ad blocking has forced the publishing industry to rethink its reliance on advertising, and several digital publishers have incorporated ecommerce and affiliate links as a way to diversify their revenue streams. Now, those same ecommerce links, previously considered immune to ad blockers, are the “latest unlikely casualty of ad blocking,” according to a recent article from Digiday.
While Purch’s ecommerce or facilitated ecommerce links haven’t been tangibly impacted, ad blocking – and this particular type – is forcing all publishers to rethink monetization strategy and user experience.
The Digiday article quotes Sean Blanchfield, CEO of PageFair, a startup that sells anti-ad blocking tech to publishers as stating, “There are no privacy or usability implications to e-commerce attribution; it is a simple practice that helps websites get paid for honest recommendations of products….it causes unnecessary financial damage to thousands of independent websites.”
There is a valid point here. The impetus behind ad blocking was to prevent disruption and irrelevant noise on a page so the user could focus on the content. Yet, unlike most ads, ecommerce links are often directly correlated to the content provided on the page – and in the best cases enhance the user’s experience. Ad blockers have gone too far with targeting these ecommerce links, but this doesn’t mean digital publishers should panic. It means they should pivot – diversifying even further and providing additional value to users.