Gilbane Advisor 8-26-15 – Gilbane Program and ad-blocking update

Gilbane Conference 2015 program published

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Maybe the backlash to intrusive web and mobile ads is finally coming. Maybe the combination of distraction, painfully slow page loads, and overly creepy tracking is about force a major change in how digital content is paid for. Then again, maybe most people will just put up with it — many may not even have noticed the gradual deterioration of the web experience. Either way, things are ramping up and this effects everybody. The use of ad-blocking is growing, and Apple’s imminent release of iOS 9 with support for ad-blocking could dramatically increase its use among a highly-prized demographic. We have chosen three of the many recent articles to get you up to speed quickly.

Ad Blockers and the Nuisance at the Heart of the Modern Web

First up, the New York Times’ Farhad Manjoo does a nice job summarizing the major points of view.

Advertising sustains pretty much all the content you enjoy on the web … many of the world’s most useful technologies may never have come about without online advertising. But at the same time, ads and the vast, hidden, data-sucking machinery that they depend on to track and profile you are routinely the most terrible thing about the Internet. … Now, more and more web users are escaping the daily bombardment of online advertising by installing an ad blocker. Read more

The Ethics of Modern Web Ad-blocking

Next, Marco Arment takes a look at the ‘implied’ or ‘implicit’ contract between  publishers / advertisers and content consumers.

There’s no opportunity for disclosure, negotiation, or reconsideration. By following any link, you unwittingly opt into whatever the target site, and any number of embedded scripts from other sites and tracking networks, wants to collect, track, analyze, and sell about you. … That’s why the implied-contract theory is invalid: people aren’t agreeing to write a blank check and give up reasonable expectations of privacy by clicking a link. They can’t even know what the cost of visiting a page will be until they’ve already visited it and paid the price. Read more

Real-World Results of iOS 9 Safari Content Blocking

Even though iOS 9 is not released yet the beta versions have the content blocking feature and developers are building content blocking apps, so it is possible to see the effect on the user experience. Owen Williams has done just that with side-by-side tests of major publisher sites with and without one of the content blocking apps turned on. Note that iOS content blocking capability includes more than just ads. It will be interesting to see the final options for configuring, and how they end up being used.

Content blockers on iOS are a new type of app that’s able to block incoming content before it’s loaded by the system — it provides a list of sites and scripts to the operating system for blocking. Instead of requiring the browser to process what to block as the page loads, it’s performed on a system level before the page loads which increases speed significantly. … The effect of using a content blocker on iOS is, to be honest, something publishers should be deeply afraid of. I don’t really care about advertising actually appearing on sites, I just care about how fast the site itself loads over a constrained connection. Read more

6 Reasons Marketing is Moving In-House

Digital Agencies finds that in the past year there has been a dramatic spike in the number of companies who no longer work with outside marketing agencies — 27 percent, up from 13 percent in the previous year. This continues a trend The Association of National Advertisers first reported in 2013. … SoDA describes this trend as “alarming” … but stops short of fully explaining why it’s happening. After interviewing several ad agency executives and marketing leaders in a diverse group of businesses — pharmaceutical, high-tech, manufacturing, retail, sports, and others — I’ve found a few common themes that could help explain what is going on. Read more

Learning from PDFs

PDF seemed like a temporary diversion from the road to the future of electronic documents to many even when it was new in 1993. By then HTML and many other SGML based applications existed and the potential was clear but it wasn’t until the Mosaic browser was released, also in 1993, that the web revolution grew the legs for mainstream adoption.

In the 90s there was, largely uninformed, competition between PDF and HTML — there have always been important use cases for both. Our understanding and preferences for content consumption will continue to evolve as computing and information technologies change the landscape of options. Michael Andrews takes a thoughtful look at why PDF is still an important component of content strategy.

What can content strategy learn from PDFs? That some people want to interact with words, and HTML content doesn’t offer them good options to do that… The evolution of content experience is far from over, despite the proclamations that the future of content has arrived. Smart, flexible, modular content is powerful. But on the topics that matter most, people want to choose what’s important to them, and not have that decision made for them. Read more

A Visual Introduction to Machine Learning

Just what it says it is and very nicely done. This is the opposite of a typical insipid infographic. See more


Sponsor

Thanks to our hosting provider LuxSci for sponsoring this issue, and for 15 years of great customer service.

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Short takes

Google analyzed their own app interstitial ad and got rid of it. They explain why in Google+: A case study on App Download Interstitials via the Google Webmaster Central Blog

Mobile:2015 UI / UX Trends… A quick look at what and why. via Medium

Useful background info on the evolution of native ads… Native advertising and sponsored content: Research on audience, ethics, effectiveness via Journalist’s Resource

For a little more technical detail content and page load speed see Why Are Web Pages So Slow? via Medium

Without a doubt Companies Need an Option Between Contractor and Employee via HBR.org

As you might imagine this generated lots comments… Theft, Lies, and Facebook Video via Medium

DAM Industry Heat Maps – Market Share and Customer Satisfaction… a handy quick look. via Real Story Group

Web Content Management Round-Up… Summer news in the WCM space. via Digital Clarity Group

About

The Gilbane Advisor curates content for our conference community of content, computing, and digital experience professionals throughout the year. You can also subscribe via our feed.

The Gilbane Conference on Content, Technology, and Customer Experience helps marketers, IT, and business managers integrate content strategies and computing technologies to produce superior customer experiences for all stakeholders.