Streamers Tackle Ad Blocking
Ad blocking is a persistent problem for digital publishers who monetize their businesses through ad sales. Blocking has been around for years on the web and is more common in the EU than the US. In music streaming its estimated that about 2% of listeners use an ad blocking app. So how are the various music streamers addressing this challenge for their ad-supported side? Digiday examines two different approaches in the attached link.
Spotify takes a more combative approach by trying to shut down accounts it suspects of using ad blockers when listening to its free tier. They’ll literally send a notice to the registrant’s email saying, “We detected abnormal activity on the app you are using so we have disabled it.” The user is then instructed to delete the app and reinstall it, hopefully without the blocker in use. This feels a little cat-and-mousish to me, and could really annoy users who don’t use an ad blocker if they’re turned off by mistake.
On the other side of the spectrum Pandora doesn’t try to delete would-be blockers’ access, and instead provides gateway ad products for listeners who don’t want to hear ads but also don’t want to pay for a subscription. Their flagship ad-free product, called Premium Access, allows listeners to interact with a brand for a set amount of time in return for unlocking on-demand functionality. Even anti-ad listeners understand this to be a fair trade off that provides an ad-free experience without having the internet police out looking for them.
There’s not a clear answer on which is the best long-term solution to address ad blocking. I guess we’ll find out over time, since blocking isn’t going away any time soon.