Recently there has been a huge outcry about ad blocking and how Apple has opened a new front with iOS 9 supporting ad blocking. With this news we have seen several ad blockers are topping the most installed list in the App Store as well.
So is this the death of online advertising? Or the end for publishers, especially the smaller ones? While the debate rages on, I believe its just part of an evolution that’s always been on in this media and it continues to go on.
First of all ad blocking is not new, it has always been there, both on desktop and mobile. This is true especially for mobiles as the feature has been available for Android users (you need to download an app from the Play Store). Apple devices have had such apps as well.
However, the recent move by Apple to boost ad blocking on mobile has got advertisers worried. Now it means that advertisers have to create ads which are deemed less intrusive and are acceptable by the public. This is a costly process, especially for the smaller publishers who are directly in the line of fire.
By introducing this capability, Apple has given the iPhone users a better user experience with not much damage to their own advertising revenue. This is because they don’t make money through ads run on mobile browsers as their ads are served through apps and so they remain unaffected.
It is the smaller publishers who are going to lose out in the longer run in this on-going war as they do not have huge monies to invest in proprietary media platforms and native advertising etc.
Looking at the impact on advertisers, I believe most publishers are increasingly becoming irrelevant to advertisers thanks to content discovery platforms like Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram etc. Now advertising is about consumers ‘discovering’ you and your brand-related content than being your ads being in the consumer’s face all the time and beating the hell out of the consumers with pop-us displays and click farming.
Advertising is instead about being relevant to the consumers and being present when they need it. So for both publishers as well as advertisers, the mantra is to be creative and figure out ways to create interesting content which consumers are seeking.
With ad blocking increasingly becoming prominent and universal, I feel native and content-rich advertising is the future or will become more prominent. Creating content which is not in your face but blends in to the content of the website/app etc. Its about time that advertisers would desert this whole mess for an entirely new, more efficient and an effective way of reaching out to their consumers. While the technology continues to evolve and advertisers look for ways to reach out to consumers, one thing is for sure that the days of ad loaders, pop-ups and 50 other banners which load simultaneously, are now over.
Those publishers who will adapt and evolve to this are the ones who will be left standing in the longer run and will be relevant. Others can keep on yelling about ad blockers and die a sudden death.