Consumers have DVRs to skip ads shown during their favorite TV shows, satellite channels to avoid promotions in radio, and now they’re downloading ad-blocking apps to their mobile phones. Is the end of the mobile ad industry already in sight?
Analysts are watching the development of new apps designed to block ads on mobile phones. One particular product, Adblock Plus, has already made its name in the desktop computing world. Some analysts estimate that at least 3.5% of all desktop systems are running a form of Adblock. The company says it has 15 million daily users with a download rate of 100,000 a day.
According to Geoff Duncan, who wrote on this topic for Digital Trends last month, the ad blocking process in the mobile environment isn’t as seamless as it is in the desktop environment. Depending on platforms and browser versions, Adblock does not block all ads. In addition, the company that publishes Adblock also maintains a list of vendors which it has decided are acceptable.
Users may be delighted to see fewer ads on their mobile devices, but this trends won’t help the development of free content or a robust industry in the mobile space. Analysts point out that marketers will need to fine-tune their mobile marketing approach – using features such as opt-ins, personalization and geo-fencing to make sure their messages are relevant and wanted.
Eyeo executives, publishers of AdBlock, maintain that they understand the need for mobile advertising. Their only intent is to help consumers avoid the barrage of intrusive mobile ads. However, if significant numbers of mobile users opt to download Adblock, advertisers and network operators will take note. An escalation of technology to counter ad blocking is one possible outcome. In that case, everyone loses because advertisers can’t get their message out to consumers and the mobile experience may deteriorate as bits of code in mobile apps battle for control over what the consumer sees. In 2013, there may be a battle looming between marketers and savvy coders and users who want to block ads.[Sources: Harrison, James. How AdBlock Plus will change mobile marketing. Venturebeat.com. 30 Dec. 2012. Web. 8 Jan. 2013; Duncan, Geoff. Adblock Plus moves to Android. Digitaltrends.com. 3 Dec. 2012. Web. 8 Jan. 2013]