How Did Apple Ad Blocking Upset Advertising Industries?
Ad blocking is nothing new. It is growing but still in limited behavior, but what many advertising industries are worried about is Apple’s ad-blocking framework with the new iOS 9. Apple now becomes a threat for ads, for publishers and in the process, it may be fatal for the web.
In the new iOS 9 Apple has made many useful updates like a smarter Siri and a more useful wallet as well as an update in which app-developers will now be able to create ad blocking for the company’s web browser, Safari.
What is Ad Blocking?
Ad blocking technology works on the principle of using a list of advertisers’ IP addresses, detects content from those IP addresses and then rejects that content by literally stripping it from the web page and filling the empty space with other content, so that the reader isn’t viewing holes on the page, where the advertisements had been.
Ad blocking is generally dealing with those annoying types of ads, like pop ups, retargeted ads or pre-roll videos and it is pretty easy to see why many mobile users would want to block all these things on their slow networks and tiny mobile screens.
Although now a hot topic, ad blocking isn’t that new, since several popular browsers have been supporting third-party plugins on desktop computers for years. These plugins are frequently downloaded millions of times every day by many users, but ad blocking has never been a part of a browser, nor available on the mobile web.
iPhone users can download third-party browsers, but many users of tablets and mobile phones in the US use Apple’s Safari browser. Ad blocking existed for iOS and Android in the past, although limited, and this is first time that Apple is enabling mobile ad blocking and making it happen.
The usage of ad blocking isn’t widely adopted yet, but it is growing every day, and 10-15% of internet users in the US are using ad blocking plugins. This number isn’t that big yet, but still, it is substantial enough to get the attention of advertisers whose ads are being blocked.
The number will only grow as the developers are releasing new built in ad blocking plugins and technologies. It is predicted that, by the year 2018, mobile ads will surpass desktop ones, reaching an estimated figure of $55 billion and this is no surprise because many people are now moving to mobile surfing.
Why are Publishers Worried?
Ads are not just used to annoy and burden the readers – for publishers and various marketing sites, ads pay the bills. Every major network like Google, Facebook and Twitter runs on ads, but Apple don’t.
Apple’s revenue comes from iTunes and the App Store and from its hardware, and that is the reason to make browsing on Safari more appealing to its users, and if more mobile users don’t want to be spammed with annoying ads, Apple offers that option on their mobile OS.
Apple is now competing with Google in some way, and this move can really hurt publishers and we all know Google depends on the revenue it gets from ads.
Can lose billions of dollars from this blocking extension. Apple, with incorporating this blocking capability, can seriously damage Google and get away with it by claiming that they were only trying to improve user experience.
Using Sponsored Content
There are ways to avoid the effect of ad blocking, by using sponsored content, if that content is not published through ad networks so that it is not affected by ad blocking. Since we know that ad blocking is currently targeting annoying types of ads like pop ups and banner ads, it doesn’t strip content on the page like landing pages, in-text and call buttons, so that way, advertising content can still be served to the readers in order to promote and distribute sponsored content.
Although this isn’t that easy and quick to do as producing display ads, the effort put in sponsored content can only benefit publishers and advertisers in the long run. After all, stats have shown that banner ads aren’t that effective. Ad blocking can actually be helpful and can make the publisher/advertiser/reader relationships much better.
So far, publishing websites have contained 80% of useful information and 20% of ads and if the sponsored content is done right, the web pages can now be entirely composed of quality content and still make profit.
A website with sponsored content will give greater appeal to the readers and will close that transparency gap which ad blocking usually associates with spam. Ad blocking has surely shaken up the advertising market but is not that fatal to publishers. If the sponsored content is done right, in the end, publishers, readers and advertisers can have a much better online experience.
The web is changing, it becomes disjointed and hard to control. Although it seems free to users, we shouldn’t forget that ads are keeping content creators in business and their lights on.