Apple allows mobile users to block ads – we explore the potential impact

by borne . September 9, 2015

Later today will see the Autumn Apple Event take place which should bring good news for Apple TV lovers as we reported last week but just yesterday Apple made something of a surprise announcement which could greatly impact the mobile ad market.

 

Mobile Ad blocking could be a major impact

 

The announcement that iPhone and iPad users of Safari will now have the opportunity to block adverts is likely to have far reaching consequences and while many users may be happy about the chance to browse on their devices advertising free, companies that depend on advertising for revenue will be less than pleased with the news.

 

The news from Apple comes in the same week as an Israeli ad-blocking firm Shine released data showing that a large proportion of mobile data usage goes on downloading ads. Though this is likely a coincidence it shows that it is a hazardous time to be a web-based company without diverse revenue streams.

 

Many app developers for instance rely on advertising as the revenue stream for their apps. This is especially true within the popular gaming market. While the dark days of eternal pop-ups are thankfully long behind us many businesses do use ads as a tool to avoid charging customers for their services. The companies who advertise through these methods themselves are also likely to see sales fall from Apple’s move.

 

Is this a bad thing?

 

Though the question is not so much chicken and egg, there is definitely a case for both sides. Browsers will argue that they pay for their data usage and so there is a limit to how much advertising can be expected while companies will argue of their right to advertise in an open market. Quite simply, there is no right or wrong answer.

 

During this year’s Google Annual Stockholder’s meeting the subject of ad blocking came up on how much ad blocking technology was affecting Google’s bottom line. Google, if you’re interested is reported to bring in over $40bn in ad revenue so for ad blocking to affect its bottom line is a rather moot point however the fact that it is acknowledged by Google is.

 

Google’s answer to questions about ad revenue and ad blocking was that advertisers should learn to create better ads, and while there is a point to this – TV after all has advertisements which often are like miniature films while web ads still seem to be mostly comprised of banners and pop-ups, it seems to be avoiding the greater question.

 

How ‘free’ is the internet?

 

Ad blocking on the internet has been a point of discussion and confrontation for some time now so Apple’s move has really just re-sparked the debate on just how ‘free’ the internet actually is. Advertising is one way that many businesses are able to pay hosting, staff and make money. It is probably true to say that this should not be the only way that businesses make money; it is their prerogative, not ours. Which makes this debate a sore point and probably a debate that will never end.

 

It must be said that a great many iPad and iPhone users will not use the feature to block ads and continue to use the internet as they had before, as was the case with ad blocking for the full screen internet itself but revenues will be hit, that is for sure and perhaps only time will tell how big an impact this will have on sites and businesses that have come to rely upon that revenue.

 

‘Better’ ads may be a fair point when it comes to mobile ad success, which will be good news for marketers but it seems though the end of the debate itself is far from over.

 

That is another of those topics where we shall just have to wait and see.
Check out our Twitter feed today for regular updates of the Apple Event as the happen which we will discuss in Friday’s blog in more detail.