London, England – Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past year, chances are you’ve heard LOTS of talk about ad-blockers. Chances are, you’re probably an ad-block user yourself. According to Adobe and PageFair, the number of people who use ad-blocking software jumped from 21 million to 198 million in just five years, resulting in a loss of over $21Billion in ad revenue in 2015. The numbers are projected to explode this year with mobile being the hot space in which to block, in part due to iOS updates and growing support across other platforms.
And while a lot of effort is being spent on building better blockers, it is refreshing to see that some companies are focusing on getting at the root of the issue – the ad experience itself – and coming up with creative ways to change the game. One such company, People.io, recently launched its platform in the UK, and is positioning itself as a tool to empower users to take control of their personal data and engage with advertisers in a way that’s mutually beneficial. The service allows users to earn credits by selectively sharing personal data and engaging with ads and content that have been personalized for them. The credits can then be exchanged for rewards like products and subscription services.
People.io co-founder Nicholas Oliver breaks it down like this—“Last year the UK saw an 82% growth in the adoption of ad-blocking, higher than any other country in the world. Naturally, that has made it harder to reach certain audience groups and as a result, the amount a brand is willing to invest on reaching those consumers has increased,” he says. “With people.io, we can use a persons’ data to ensure that whenever a brand wants a person’s attention — they’re sending the right message. If we know how to connect the right brand, with the right person, at the right time — we can help reward users and brands alike.”
Sounds simple enough. A win-win. Time will tell if the interest in this sort of a platform will be enough to sustain it and allow for scale (the initial rollout is a very limited launch in a district of London). We’ll certainly start to see more experiments in tailored ad experiences and value exchange dynamics as the ad-blocking phenomenon continues to steamroll.