How Will You Counter Mobile Ad Blocking?
With the rise of mobile browsing, developers are facing the rise of another problem – mobile ad blocking. Much like what happened with the desktop web, users are becoming more irritated and frustrated with mobile ads, which leads us to the question of how will you counter mobile ad blocking?
The latest statistics show that ad blocking has increased over the last quarter of 2015 and we expect that trend to continue. Lending power to the ad blocking movement is Apple with their recent option to download apps that block ads on iPhone and iPads.
It creates an interesting struggle between hardware and software developers who want to cater to their user’s needs versus web developers and marketing people who want to cater to their advertising (revenue) needs while trying to walk a fine line of not overly irritating consumers which causes ad backlash.
Why is it a problem?
The desire to block ads on mobile devices is stronger than on a desktop because the interruption from the ad will be greater. Most ads slow down page load times and increase the amount of data used; both hot buttons to the average mobile user.
When you add to that the shorter attention span and desire to complete actions on mobile quickly you can easily see how the ability to block ads, as more consumers become aware of it, will be a popular feature to have.
Right now ad blocking is still in its early phases as a large segment of the public is not even aware of ad blocking options; but news coverage and app releases are changing that.
As it is publishers are already facing issues with more traffic coming from mobile than desktop and that ad revenue stream being a bit smaller and more fickle.
What can you do?
One idea to combat blocking is the use of Native Ads. When done well a Native Ad provides a user with relevant content which is the ultimate goal of marketing; the right place at the right time. There are drawbacks to native ads such as the amount of effort it takes to produce good native ads that are properly targeted. There is also a concern in the industry that large companies will churn out too many native ads that aren’t properly targeted which will reduce the effectiveness of all native ads and make it more likely an ad blocker will be customized to eliminate them.
Another idea is to follow the “LEAN” method proposed by the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) which might eventually be the future of digital ad standards. LEAN stands for a light, encrypted, and non-invasive. The concept means that users won’t be overwhelmed by ads that hog memory, eat up processing power and devour your battery.
Some companies are also entertaining the idea of reducing content to people using ad blockers. The idea being that if you don’t wish to “pay” to see the content by being subject to the ads then you simply won’t have as much content available. This is an interesting idea because it attempts to understand where the line is on advertising and annoyance to a site’s customers, which will vary from site to site.
There is also the “premium” model idea where a company offers an ad free option of their product for a monthly subscription. This is an interesting model that has yet to find consistent success living in a technical world known for jail breaking and bypassing costs if you are willing to look a bit. The website Slate has made an interesting twist on the premium model by asking people to ‘opt-in’ to their community and help ‘support’ the company while reducing dependence on advertising, which is just a brilliant up sell idea.
The bottom line
The bottom line is that ad blockers are going to affect mobile ads. What to do about it is going to vary based on each business and their specific user base. Generation Y is currently the largest group using ad blockers for example, while Baby Boomers are the smallest. So far there is not a specific method that is proven to work across the entire landscape.
Rather than making the same mistakes we did as the internet on a desktop evolved or simply trying to apply what worked there, we should use our knowledge combined with current technology to craft solutions tailored to the mobile environment and strive to stay one step ahead of consumer wants so they don’t feel they need to block; that is how you will counter mobile ad blocking.