Mobile Ad Blocking: Past, Present, and Future
By Robert Woo
A recent report out of eMarketer revealed that while mobile ad blocking usage is still relatively low compared to its use on desktops and laptops, it’s steadily growing.
8% isn’t a lot right now in 2017, but the mobile industry has been closely monitoring ad blockers on smartphones because of what it might mean for the mobile economy as a whole. Keep in mind two things: 1) starting last year, global internet traffic is now mostly via mobile, and 2) mobile ads have been propping up the advertising industry as of late. You can see why the industry is so concerned about mobile ad blockers. So how did we get here and where are we going?
The advent of ad blockers, or, the crippling of publishing.
Remember those awful Flash-based display ads that were everywhere in the early internet days?
*Shudder*. Eventually, a bunch of smart people sick of these awful ads created ad blocking software which hit the masses in 2013. For a time, this was a blessed relief for internet users. Ugly ads that slowed down websites were removed, and it had the side effect of shuttering many businesses that preyed on stray eyeballs/clicks to artificially inflate traffic numbers.
But as the popularity of ad blocking software increased, legitimate businesses began to suffer. The most notable example is journalism. Going from print to digital was bad enough, as display ads were less profitable than print ads, but the advent of the ad blockers effectively bankrupted many smaller publishers and left the industry scrambling for revenue to this day.
Bowing to the ad blocking gatekeepers.
Last month, Digiday reported that UK publishers are losing $2.6 million each year due to ad blocking software, and that if left unchecked, it could cost all publishers $35 billion in the next few years. The issue is so dire that we’ve all seen big content publishers like Forbes or the New York Times begging visitors to whitelist their sites on the various ad blocking extensions people use. Tech giants like Amazon and Microsoft basically have to pay a ransom to owners of ad blocking software to get ads through. It’s a weird world we’re living in.
And the scariest part only happened recently, as Google and Apple announced they would be integrating their own ad blocking software into Chrome and Safari. Come again? Doesn’t Google exist off of ads? Well ostensibly, as the linked article mentions, Google is working with other tech companies to improve ads via industry-wide standards as outlined by the Coalition for Better Ads. Founding members include Google, Facebook, and over a dozen other companies.
The theory is that if ads are better, then consumers will allow them back into their lives/screens. This philosophy also applies to Google’s <a target="_blank" href="https://www.ampproject.org/" target="_blank" …read more
Read more here:: B2CMarketingInsider