The fallout from the latest round of media layoffs -- this time, it’s Buzzfeed, HuffPost (Verizon) and Vice -- has people asking some hard questions about the future of publishing.
How does such a brutal market shape the future of “contributed” vs. staff-created content? What does it mean for programmatic and data-driven ad strategies? Or even for the state of democracy in America (and around the world) overall?
All good questions, but I’ve been thinking about one that’s a little less lofty and more down to earth: In a market where even the smallest quarterly revenue gap can cost a reporter, or an ad ops manager, or an account executive their job, why would any publisher leave hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of revenue on the table?
Yet by ignoring adblock revenue recovery, that’s exactly what too many publishers -- from comScore Top 50 sites to targeted B2B and long-tail media properties -- are doing right now.
Revenue recovery numbers are in the six figures
Some simple back-of-the-envelope-math1 estimates (based on some publicly available numbers) highlight that a publisher like HuffPost might be able to recover well over $690,000 using an adblock revenue recovery solution like Blockthrough. Even Vice could potentially recover over $256,000 per year and just over $450K for BuzzFeed2. And while that may seem small to a company that brings in upwards of $300 million annually -- that’s seven staff writer/reporter jobs in NY, according to Glassdoor, and eleven journalism jobs in the US, according to PayScale.
Recover revenue and save jobs
The amount of adblock revenue a given publisher can recover each month varies based on factors like vertical, mobile vs. desktop traffic breakdown, the average number of display ad units per page, and adblock rate among others. The one common denominator is that it requires actually implementing an adblock revenue recovery solution.
So why aren’t more publishers doing it?
For one, there’s a valid concern about category fatigue. Because many of today and yesterday’s adblock recovery tools failed to consistently deliver recovered revenue, many publishers are simply writing off the whole category.
As the CEO of a company that recovered millions for our publishers last quarter, I’d like to show you our solution which has an uptime of 99.9% and recovers 4x the rate of anyone in the market. Our team would be happy to prove this to you!
Another form of resistance comes from those worried about further alienating users who have clearly demonstrated an aversion to ads. But the truth is that on average, around 70% of all adblock users that visit sites within our portfolio have actually opted in to seeing lightweight ads, even though they’re using an adblocker. They just want their ad experience to be less intrusive.
Instead of cramming sites with more intrusive, obnoxious ads (which is at the root of the user’s decision to install an adblocker in the first place), media companies can bring in net new revenue by using a sustainable advertising model leveraging an adblock revenue recovery solution like Blockthrough.
Now I’m in no way saying that gaining back some of the revenue lost to adblocking is a panacea for all publishers. But I am saying that in a market where media companies have to fight to stay alive -- how many jobs might be saved (or perhaps even created) if a publisher was able to earn an extra half-million or even a few hundred thousand more dollars per year?
That’s what’s at stake right now, and that’s the question I urge every CRO, or head of programmatic or even ad ops lead to ask themselves -- and I’m proud to say that the Blockthrough team will be here to help you figure out the answer.
1We purposefully used a conservative estimate in terms of the overall percentage of impressions that might be blocked by ads (10 percent) across both desktop and mobile, as well as a baseline $1.50 CPM for display ads
2Considering that BuzzFeed has multiple revenue streams, if we were to estimate that 50% (source: Recode) of their total pageviews generates programmatic display impressions, they have the potential of recovering more than $450K every year