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The “backfire effect” is mostly a myth, a broad look at the research suggests
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July 26, 2016, 12:03 p.m.
LINK: www.iab.com  ➚   |   Posted by: Shan Wang   |   July 26, 2016

Panic! People love blocking ads! Adblocking could cost the industry as much as $12 billion by 2020! But there’s hope yet, at least according to a new study conducted for the Interactive Advertising Bureau by C3Research released Tuesday. Two-thirds of users with adblockers might be convinced in the future to stop using them, the report suggests. For these users, the report recommended the following best practices (and recommended against certain ad types):

— Give users control: Video skip button, thumbs up/down ratings
— Assure users of site safety: Provide guarantees that site and ads are secure, malware and virus-free, and won’t slow down browsing
Don’t disrupt their flow with: Ads that block content, long video ads before short video content, ads that follow down the page, autoplay, slow loading (especially on mobile), pop-ups, or full page ads
— In short, implement LEAN principles (Light, Encrypted, AdChoice supported, Noninvasive ads), which address the a number of these key issues

Surprise, surprise: The types of ads readers dislike most are the ones that block or delay access to actual website content, overly long video ads before short videos, and ads that followed readers around on the site and they read.

For the other, more resistant third of users, the report makes the following recommendations:

— Polite messaging to turn off their ad blocker in exchange for viewing content
— Block content from users of ad blockers who do not turn off their blockers
— In short, implement DEAL (Detect, Explain, Ask, and Lift or Limit)

(DEAL is the primer the IAB Tech Lab released earlier this year for actions publishers can take to mitigate adblock use among readers.) It’s worth noting that a recent study by adblocking company Adblock Plus and marketing company Hubspot found that 32 percent of people surveyed said they wouldn’t turn off their adblockers, and 28 percent said, if blocked from reading the site’s content unless they turned off adblockers, they were more likely to stop visiting that site entirely.

Other tidbits from the IAB-commissioned study:

— Some people in the study were totally confused about what adblockers actually are: 40 percent thought they were using an adblocker, but when asked to clarify and confirm the name of the adblocker they were using, turns out 26 percent were really using adblockers.

— 15 percent used adblockers on their phones (these users were not confused — they were asked to confirm the name of the blocker they were using).

— Adblock users were more likely to be men, between 18 and 34.

The full report is available here.

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