Ads are just as important on Twitch as they are on any website whose sales depend on advertisers. (Hello from Vox Media.) But it’s a war. Ad blockers keep websites ad free, and then the websites themselves innovate around the blockers. Escalation is the norm.
This is also the backdrop to the current ad-based controversy on the streaming site. Twitch released an update that broke uBlock, a popular ad blocker. UBlock users were suddenly greeted with a pop-up warning that they might be using a third-party tool or browser extension every 10 or 20 minutes that is affecting website performance – a bit like one through a Website triggered midroll ad.
A spokesman for Twitch told me that users were getting this particular popup because the tool they were using was manipulating the site code. That person stressed that the midroll experiment was over and added that Twitch hadn’t changed the site’s overall ad density. That said, the only automated ads that run on the site are pre-dates, and streamers can turn these off for their subscribers. (They also found that some larger streamers may be using third-party tools to serve automatic ads on their streams, and that sometimes these appear to be from Twitch.) Twitch says it does Not The target group is ad-blocking users with more ads than with others.
For Twitch, ads are a little different from those on other free sites: because the service is live, ads like those currently being created on the site obscure the content. You can miss things in ways that YouTube can’t. Imagine watching a soccer game when a non-skippable ad is triggered in the middle of a clutch game. You can of course always see the repetition, which means you technically haven’t missed anything. But it feels terrible to have missed the crucial moment as it unfolds. That was the situation on Twitch for a few weeks this summer: the company began testing automated midroll ads that were universally hated.
Bottom line: if an ad is blocked, nobody makes money – no streamers and no Twitch. Since CPMs are what they are, streamers have the worse end of the deal. As of September, partners and affiliates in America were making $ 3.50 per 1,000 ad views.
“Things are hostile because streamers don’t advertise. And that’s why the viewers won’t like ads, “says Lowco, a Twitch partner, when I reach her on Discord. “If you have 10 viewers … doing ads, it just isn’t going to add up, is it? And it’s very intrusive to the audience, ”she continues. “I think Twitch can do a lot better at that point at creating ads that works for streamers.”
According to Lowco, she has no problem with Twitch targeting users who use ad blocking software as this is a large part of Twitch’s business model. But she also says she believes Twitch can do better with its streamers. “I think if you force ads it won’t work,” she says. “Twitch is all about community until it comes to that. And then it looks all the way top down. And for me, people react negatively to this type of violent implementation. “Which seems true.
She also believes that advertising on Twitch can simply be done better. “You can have skippable ads, better inline ads, and bottom third ads that are more seamlessly connected to the live content – the live nature of Twitch.”
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