When Apple brings iOS 9 out of beta on September 16, many in digital advertising fear the pillars of their kingdom could begin to crumble. For, the latest version of the mobile operating system includes a content blocking architecture that could allow developers to release ad-blocking extensions for download by users.
Some in advertising are jumping to act. “We are closely working with the IAB, 4As and ANA to identify anti-ad-blocking solutions, some of which are directly content-related,” GroupM’s managing partner for digital ad operations, Joe Barone, tells Beet.TV in this video interview.
“Publishers will have the opportunity to promote to their users – ‘If you want this content, you need to turn off the ad blocker or there might be some micropayment involved’.”
In truth, Apple is not launching an ad blocker. Indeed, in iAds, the Cupertino company operates a mobile advertising business of its own. But its extensions will allow Safari users to block content – whether that be mentions of the Republican party, Mail Online in its entirety or, yes, ads. Barone says Safari represents “a big chunk of traffic”. Apple is far from alone – one of the leading developers of ad block software for the desktop has just released an ad-blocking mobile browser.
An early 2014 study put the number of people blocking ads at 4.9%. Later studies seem outlandish, but are nevertheless scaring the horses.
“Some numbers say as much as 16% to 25% of US traffic is blocked,” Barone says. “It was more prevalent outside the US. We’ve reached a point where we can’t no longer say that it isn’t an issue in the US.”
“The real concern is targets like millennials, IT professionals, who are almost invariably using ad blockers.”