As user experience is becoming more valuable to marketers and consumers, it seems like a win/win for Apple to take a popular desktop concept and bringing it to its mobile devices.
But it’s not. Bringing AdBlock to the Safari app only leaves more questions for publishers, brands, and marketers.
How AdBlock Works
AdBlock, as it works as a desktop extension for Safari, Firefox, Google Chrome and other web browsers, never lets detected ads display or even load for the website visitor. As of 2014, Adblock is the most popular extension on Google Chrome with over 40,000,000 users.
Most visibly, it filters out display ads and pop-ups out of websites. A benefit of this is decreased page load times and a seamless experience that ends in a customer win and an impression lost.
In a nod to the idea that all ads are disruptive to the user experience on smartphones and tablets, Apple’s AdBlock allows users to opt out of advertising in exchange for the faster load times experienced on desktops.
This shift indicated a larger emphasis on paid social media advertising. It will be essential to have consumers opt in to stay engaged with visual content brands publish across the web.
What It Means For Consumers
When they use Adblock, Internet users still see the content they expected to see, but with none of the extra baggage. Essentially, they opt out of advertising. No more pop-up display ads to disrupt their reading experience.
History showed that AdBlock is proven popular on desktop. To put it into perspective, in 2013, content publishers feel they have to work twice as hard because only half of their ads displays to visitors. The same year, PageFair stated the average Adblocking rate was 22.7 percent across Internet users.
Any user that blocks ads on their desktops know what to expect with the iPhone switch, granting faster access to content and an experience that’s disrupted less often.
How Brands Should React
It could be a huge change. It’s best to have it become a part of the discussion between brands and agencies, but without seeing anything concrete, it’s hard to say for sure what will happen.
What this means is it may take longer to reach the same mobile impression rate as before. There may be fewer clicks (or in this case, taps), but smart agencies will push the quality of their content and will make better ads to still achieve and surpass any brand’s goals.
The most important question brands should be thinking about is: How can we convince viewers to opt back in?
According to SmartInsights, mobile media use is significantly higher (51 percent) than where it is on desktops (42 percent), but mobile ad spend is still completely disproportional to Internet use.
Thankfully, popular search apps like YouTube and Google have already opted in for showing ads, and the display network will continue to reach into mobile apps as well. Apple News will also serve ads upon its arrival in iOS9.
If desktop ads were not threatened by these AdBlock numbers, it’s hard to say that paid advertising is dead just because Apple decided to get into the content blocking game.
Marketers will need to be shifted towards social media and search engine marketing, where users already opt into a brand’s content with a follow or a query.