Advertising revenue is being stifled by ad blockers however email marketing offers an opportunity for publishers to continue monetising their readers while building a better relationship with their audience.
AdBlock is a desktop or mobile browser extension that filters intrusive ads from view, such as banner ads and pop-ups. It has become a bane for publishers, hitting the industry with an estimated $21.8 billion loss in U.S. advertising last year.
AdBlock does not need to be a doomsday scenario for publishers if they develop different ways to capture and maintain a relationship with readers. Display ads are not the only way to monetize readers, and that alternative measures might offer publishers a better road to developing a solid relationship with their audience.
AdBlock has been around for a couple of years,however it's now reaching a point of critical mass.
Some publishing companies are turning to premium subscriptions for more high-quality content or sponsored posts as methods to counteract ad blocking. Since sponsored posts are effectively content, they are not blocked.
Ad Blocker won't kill the industry, but it is an erosion on a business model that comes from programmatic advertising. Email can transcend that.
Email establishes a direct relationship with a reader as opposed to being at the whim of Facebook's or Google's algorithms and is a way to connect with an audience that's becoming more and more digitised.
A like or a follower doesn't mean anything any more.It's not an audience that the publisher owns, controls or has any say in when the message displays.
Sibson clarifies a difference between a subscriber and the amount of subscriptions, or newsletters, that they subscribe to.
"The first thing we get is the subscriber and then we want to increase subscriptions," says Sibson. "That's where we do use personalization -- if you sign up for that newsletter, then you may also be interested in signing for this newsletter."
Publishers must evaluate their content and then create category-specific newsletters for their audience.
For example, BuzzFeed offers over a dozen category-specific email newsletters for readers to subscribe to. Ranging from a daily news digest to periodic monthly challenges, email has become one of the top traffic drivers for BuzzFeed.
A Juniper Research report estimates that publishers will lose $27 billion a year by 2020 due to ad blockers.