Ad Blocking Goes Mobile and Causes Pandemonium
Ad blocking is the bane of a digital marketer’s existence, but it is one that isn’t going away. In fact, mobile ad blocking is the next wave in the assault. As TV advertisers flock to the promised land of digital, ad blockers are quickly raining on the parade.
Of course, the news isn’t all bad. The part of the industry that ad blocking has really hurt the most is big ad buys with loads of targetless impressions being dumped across the planet. It is forcing brands to use their ad dollars more wisely. In that sense, consumers are actually doing brands a favor by telling them what they will and will not put up with when it comes to marketing.
Websites and apps that provide useful functions, educational content, and engage consumers are still going to fare well. It is just a lot tougher to develop that sort of app and content than to spam every other site and app with a flashy banner ad, so many took the shortcut.
But the consumers have spoken, and ad blockers now make consumers the gods of the digital advertising world. You have to appease them.
The problem with mobile ad blockers, as was seen in a recent incident involving the popular iOS app Peace, is that mobile ad blockers hurt small developers more than major brands. Brands simply get around the problem by not using a flashing banner. They provide sponsored content and native ads that fit in seamlessly with other content.
That’s why the developer of Peace pulled the ad blocking app from the market and released a statement saying that a nuanced approach (one that does not treat all ads equally) needed to be taken. He also stated the view that an app would not be the right forum to do this.
Of course, others in the industry have a different approach. They are calling on marketers to produce more creative ads and better content that doesn’t aggravate users to the point that they feel the need to block ads. Then people can decide for themselves what is good enough to share with friends and family online, giving better content a wider reach.
In the end, it turns into a battle between cheap ads that are simple to track but easy to block versus developing creative content that is more difficult to track while engaging consumers emotionally leading to less ad blocking.