Are iOS 9 ad blocking features a danger for advertisers? (Picture by Kelvinsong)

Ad Blockers for Safari: The Beginning of the End of Mobile Advertising?

iOS 9 is one of Apple’s next big announcement, and it brings a lot of changes to the beloved Apple devices, including improvements of the everyday-used apps, and better video viewing experience on the devices. But the biggest change businesses and advertisers are concerned themselves with is the introduction of “ad blockers” for the Safari browser.

This is a big concern. A lot of businesses depend on online promotions on websites to push for their products. It comes in all shapes and sizes, in the form of banner ads, pop-ups, pop-unders etc. Through viewers’ interaction with these advertisements, businesses gather data about their target audience, and assess how well these online promotions are performing. iOS 9’s ad blocking features will not only block out potential advertising, but also some tracking codes for analytics, for example Google Analytics and Chartbeat.

It is a blow to an already suffering mobile advertising industry. In a PageFair report, 198 million people around the world are paying for ad blocking services. This has cost publishers an estimated of nearly $22 billion in this year alone, and growing. The plummeting profits is mainly due to advertising damaging the user experiences on both desktop and mobile devices, to which Apple has stepped in to say “this has got to stop”.

However, mobile advertising cannot be announced deceased yet. We predict that there are two possible changes in the industry.

1) Focus on in-app advertising

Yes, the browser may now seem to be the insurmountable obstacle for advertisers. However, in-app advertising continues to be a model that many mobile apps are sticking with. This is evident in many freemium apps, for example games or services remaining free while having ads to support them. Advertisers will then look forward to partnering with their target audience’s favourite apps, and find opportunities to carry out their promotions there.

2) Paying to be on the “do not block list”.

While advertisers are still working to gather the full details of how the ad blockers features for iOS 9 will work, it is possible that the ad blockers companies will begin to have an option for advertisers to be left out of their blocking algorithms. This may seem counterintuitive to what ad blocker companies are trying to do, but ultimately the decision how their products work is left in the hands of these companies.

Mobile advertising has been trying very hard to evolve against both the growth of technology, and the evolution of the consumer experience. It has not found its position in these, and we have no idea if it will ever find its seat. What we can say is that mobile is already a part of consumers, and advertisers will continue to pierce through the shroud to reach their target audience.

Roger Ong
Asia Click Globe Editor

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