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Ad blocking could spur innovation

News, 06 October 2015

NEW YORK: Worries about the impact of ad blocking on mobile may be overstated but continuing anxieties are likely to result in advertisers exploring new ways of getting their message across, industry figures have said.

A recent report suggested that "there has been no appreciable impact in the number of ads being delivered on iOS devices since ad blocking has been available in iOS 9", according to Dave Zinman, chief operating officer at RadiumOne.

He told Mobile Marketer there would need to be "a long term, sustained interest on the part of consumers to install ad blocking in order to have an appreciable impact".

Another factor is that mobile web advertising is most at risk but three quarters of mobile spending is on in-app ads, and Zinman noted that some verticals interacting with consumers primarily via apps – such as gaming and high-value media properties – stood to benefit from any downturn in web inventory.

Separately, Greg Portell, a partner in the communications, media and technology practice at consultants A.T. Kearney, thought that concerns over ad blocking would "encourage experimentation a bit more than normal".

He expected that sponsored content, such as branded and native, would see most activity. Location-based targeting is another area ripe for development.

"The ability to communicate meaningful content in the right context transcends ad blocking," he said. "The mobile aspect enhances the content by delivering it at the right time."

In the longer term there could be positives to take from ad blocking if marketers can apply themselves to finding effective new ways to reach consumers on mobile.

"Advertisers with deeper pockets and a more strategic view will seek opportunities which are less likely to be affected by ad blocking," said Damon Ragusa, CEO of ThinkVine, a provider of marketing optimisation software.

"The most strategic marketers will revisit their content, targeting, and media strategies, and challenge themselves to offer more relevant and rewarding audience experiences; in other words, they will focus on earning their audience," he said.

Data sourced from Mobile Marketer; additional content by Warc staff