iOS 9 Isn’t Causing the Death of the Ad-Supported Web. Irrelevant Ads Are

With the release of iOS 9, Apple has opened the floodgates for developers to create, and users to download, mobile ad blockers. This move could definitely impact the revenue models of organizations that rely heavily on online advertising. However, publishers and advertisers shouldn’t hit the panic button just yet.

It is important for businesses to understand that the desire for these ad blocking tools has come from a steep rise in irrelevant, poorly placed, and annoying digital advertisements, which leave users frustrated at not being able to enjoy the content they are looking for. Another fundamental problem with the current advertising climate is that there are simply too many ads, which drives down CPMs for ad-supported businesses and results in poor experiences for users.

The days of a scattergun approach to marketing and advertising, where everyone is expected to pay attention to every ad, are long gone. Consumers now expect to see relevant messaging, and will often ignore ads and communications that do not suit their interests. In fact, recent research shows that after receiving irrelevant information or product recommendations from a brand, 47% of US and 44% of UK consumers ignored all future communications from the brand, and 16% of US and 15% of UK consumers stopped buying products from the brand altogether.



Content publishers must tackle this problem at its core, thinking about ad relevancy and user experience on their mobile and web properties. If a company understands its customers’ preferences based on first-party identity data, and applies these insights to its advertising inventory, then users will be delivered much more enjoyable user experiences and may not feel an urgent need to install ad blockers.

Let’s take a look at two brands that have used customer identity and access management (CIAM) technology to gain a much clearer understanding of their users, and are using identity-driven insights to maximize advertising performance and revenue.


To combat growing competition from media streaming providers, Medialaan sought to add value for its advertising sponsors and increase rate cards on its premier network site,

Medialaan decided to gate long-form video content behind a registration wall. Viewers have the option to identify themselves using a traditional username and password or their existing Facebook accounts. The captured identity data, as well as behavioral data created as registered viewers take on-site actions across devices, is consolidated and directly exported into Medialaan’s existing marketing applications for use across channels and campaigns.

With a comprehensive understanding of viewers’ identities, Medialaan is able to provide sponsors with detailed insights into its user base to more accurately reach and convert desired segments. This level of audience intelligence is expected to result in a 15% revenue increase across Medialaan’s web properties.

In addition, giving users an easy way to identify themselves and consume content across devices has significantly improved acquisition and retention, with 200% more registrations than expected and 30% of daily site visitors logging in.

The Canadian Olympic Committee

To drum up awareness and engagement for the XXII Winter Olympic Games and beyond, the Canadian Olympic Committee realized that it needed to adopt an identity-driven marketing approach to reach consumers with relevance and drive acquisition while maintaining cost-efficiencies.

To get an accurate view of Olympic fans, the Canadian Olympic Committee allows users to verify their identities via social authentication. By logging in socially to the Winter Olympic Games community platform and the Canadian Olympic Team site, fans provide permission-based access to specific demographic and psychographic information housed within their social profiles.Canadian olympics image


After analyzing fans’ permission-based data, the Canadian Olympic Committee discovered that users logging in via Facebook to the Winter Olympic Games community platform shared similar demographic profiles, as well as interests in Canadian hockey teams, TV shows like The Big Bang Theory, and certain gaming apps. These types of insights were used to build custom and lookalike audience segments to reach users with similar profiles who are most likely to convert across Facebook and Twitter via promoted campaigns.

Leveraging these insights, the Canadian Olympic Committee was able to simultaneously boost user registrations from Facebook promotions by 106%, while decreasing CPCs by 51% during the Winter Olympic Games. In the future, the Canadian Olympic Committee could also leverage this identity data to increase ad revenue by more accurately targeting Olympic sponsor placements based on specific consumer interests, actions, and behaviors.

The Canadian Olympic Committee and Medialaan are just two examples of innovative brands using first-party, permission-based identity data to amplify their advertising initiatives. More importantly, these brands are realizing that getting to the core of consumers’ desires to install ad blockers will ultimately minimize the impact and prevalence of these tools.

To learn more about how businesses can drive ad revenue with customer identity data, download our free eBook, “From Mad Men to Mad Scientists: 5 Ways to Fuel Ad Revenue with Consumer Data.”


By Reeyaz Hamirani