As the founder and CEO of Adtoniq, a proprietary permissions-based advertising platform, member Gary Portney specializes in helping quality advertisers and publishers continue to monetize their ad block users.
"Asking for consent works. And while counterintuitive on its face, ad block users interact, engage, click ads, and convert at much higher rates than non-ad blocking audiences."Gary Portney, Adtoniq
About five years ago, I realized that my online experience was being hijacked by poor quality disruptive advertising. Pop-ups, autoplay videos, and the sheer amount of ads were everywhere, and I had zero control. Then came programmatic advertising, which made a bad situation much worse. So I did what millions of others have done and turned on an ad blocker to get rid of them.
A year or so later, I started to read with some concern the impact ad blockers were having on advertisers and digital publishers. Billions of dollars were being lost; publishers were going out of business. It became so bad that people even started predicting the end of a “free internet” which is, in large part, supported by advertising dollars.
As they say, necessity is the mother of invention and as is often the case, the answer to bridging the chasm between consumers, advertisers, and publishers came down to a few simple ideas.
I started Adtoniq to do just this. The company’s mission seemed simple on paper but proved, in truth, to require very sophisticated technology to make it work.
Fortunately, I knew people who were essential to getting the company going and had the right skill sets. I was also fortunate to have a team of advisers with profound industry expertise.
It took about two years to build and test our first commercially-viable product and prove our value with hard data, which we did. Today, Adtoniq enables permission-based advertising, connecting advertisers to previously unreachable audiences and publishers to new revenue streams. By putting the consumer first, we preserve the ad-supported web. Our company is almost completely virtual with a growing team of more than 15 staff across the US.
As for unexpected surprises, two stand out:
Simply put, we help publishers unlock inventory they otherwise couldn’t, as ad blocking spans 22%-38% across the US population, and larger globally.
Take a site with 10 million browser visits a month. Even at the lowest ad block rate of 22%, that's 2.2 million people it can't monetize a month. With razor thin margins already, that could make or break a company. And if your audience is tech-savvy, well-educated Millennials, ad blocking rates can exceed 40%. Opening this up is a huge win for advertisers.
Ultimately, I believe permission-based technology that enables this is the right way and perhaps the only way to succeed.
As mentioned above, we make it simple for a consumer to opt-in with one click. It’s not that safelisting doesn’t work in practice — and most ad blocking software allows users to temporarily disable itself for specific sites.
There are a lot of publishers that have no idea what their true ad blocking rate is. They are lulled into a false sense of security by their web and data analytics tools.They don't realize that ad blockers often block detection tools, so while they think they have a 5% ad blocking rate, it may actually be closer to 30%. You can't diagnose the revenue threat without first having accurate data.
Then there’s the pitfall of using behavioral targeting, one of the primary reasons ad blockers exist in the first place. Consumers loathe this tactic, and brands are moving away from using it as a result. Street Fight emphasizes that transitioning to a content-based advertising strategy minimizes consumer complaints and may mitigate the impact of ad blockers and “do not track” technology.
The outcry concerning tracking, targeting, and capturing of personal data has resulted in more privacy legislation, from the CCPA and CONSENT Act in the US, to the GDPR in the EU, and more. Digiday reported that programmatic ad buying, which is largely behavioral, plummeted in Europe as a result of the GDPR, leading some US publishers to halt all programmatic ads on their European sites.
"There’s nothing worse you can do to turn off consumers than to ignore the reason why they use ad blockers and forcing ads into their online experiences. It’s a brand killer."Gary Portney
We see explosive growth. First, ad blockers aren't going away, far from it. All the prior attempts to address ad blocking just haven’t worked. They represent a substantial market that can only be reached through permission-based marketing. Second, the move towards contextual advertising and away from programmatic advertising is critical. All our ads, whether from direct buy campaigns or high quality ad networks, are based on the page content rather than consumer behavior.
The inevitable expansion of regulations concerning data privacy offers us the opportunity to significantly expand our business.
Gary is the founder and CEO of Adtoniq, a proprietary permissions-based advertising platform that is helping companies understand and solve for ad blocking, connecting digital advertisers with this premium audience, and providing brand new revenue opportunities for publishers.
Thanks to Gary for sharing his time and expertise about ad blocking with our readers.
Jane is the Senior Marketing Manager at Kevel. She enjoys discovering user-first ad platforms and articulating the value of Kevel's ad serving APIs.