People are always complaining about ads. Most people (especially young people) complain that there is too much advertising in their lives, and it’s too disruptive. This is particularly true on social media where ad-hate has lead to the creation of ad-free platforms like Ello. Digital 10,000 pound gorillas, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube have straddled the line between showing enough advertising to generate revenue while keeping user experience optimized. Now, Google has become the latest digital heavyweight to make a change to accommodate it’s most ad-phobic consumers. Enter Google Contributor.
What is Google Contributor?
Contributor by Google allows users to view a version of the Internet that includes fewer ads. Essentially, users would pay a small monthly fee ($1-3) that would allow them to visit participating content sites without viewing ads. Sites participating currently include Mashable, the Onion, and Imgur amongst others. The participating sites would share part of the revenues from Contributor as compensation for not showing ads.
Will it Work?
It remains to be seen if Contributor will be successful. Google’s ad revenues has fallen short of estimates recently and Google is looking for new ways to generate revenue growth. Giving users the ability to opt out of ads for a price is one possible way for them to make up possible future revenue shortfalls. Contributor however, is essentially a content subscription service and as traditional publishers who have ventured online have discovered, trying to get people to subscribe to a website can be a tricky prospect. Google says right on Contributor’s website that it’s an experiment, and most experiments fail.
More Food for Thought
Google isn’t the only company trying to optimize it’s user experience and catering to those who dislike ads. Facebook continues to fiddle with news feed to optimize user experience. All of this means that brands need to continue to focus on content marketing- creating non-disruptive content that consumers actually want to engage with- and distributing it via the best channels possible.