Article posted on Brand Republic in 2 parts: http://bit.ly/1NdcX2j
If you haven't heard - ‘Ad blockers’ could be the biggest thing that have happened to the Internet since kittens found a home on YouTube. The doom-mongers are heralding it as a the end of small online publishers, while others are a little more relaxed. But as Steve Jobs showed the music industry, what could be a disaster for one sector could sporn something great for another. Before we get into the opportunities for outdoor in part 2, let's dispel 4 myths about the threat of mobile ad blocking:
Ad blocking is not just ad blocking, its content blocking
For better or worse, this means you’ll be able to block cookies, images and other trackers that help identify you to advertisers.
Content blocking is not new to the internet, its new to mobile
Adblock and Adblock Plus already delivery ad blocking capabilities via your desktop browser. In an August 2015 report, PageFair showed that in 2014, UK ad blocking grew by 82% (12m uses). Google is already estimated to be losing 10% of its annual revenue to ad blockers.
Source: PageFair 2015
Content blocking will not automatically remove ads from iPhones
Updating to iOS 9 on Wednesday will not mean ad serving will be different on Thursday. Firstly you will have to be using Safari, secondly you have to download an app or ‘extension’ from the app store. Thirdly, you will have to go into settings to activate blocking.
Content blocking will not remove all ads from your Safari browsing experience
Content blockers aren't gunning for all mobile advertising. Banner ads however can be picked off relatively easily. Pre-rolls and native advertising will also be affected to different degrees.
Why is Apple allowing ad blocking?
Benjamin Poulain, an Apple engineer stated, “We have been building these features with a focus on providing better control over privacy”
I’d argue that this isn't what's going to sell it to the masses - the real benefit, as Kevin Bacon neatly puts it in the EE ad is, “people...why settle for buffer face?’ Content blockers will speed up mobile browsing. Faster mobile browsing means less data use and better battery life. Better battery life and browsing experience means more money in Apple's pocket. It also puts two fingers up to Google and pushes publishers to Apple’s news app and iAd network.
Expected speed increases: Credit: Owen Wiilaims at TNW
Put simply, it will tighten the noose on publishers’ and their ability to generate revenues via mobile browser based audiences which may force them into Apple's iAd ‘net(work)’. Apple also receive 30% of the ad revenues via this channel. Needless to say, iAds will never be affected by ad blocking because Apple has its ecosystem locked tighter than Fort Knox...
Content blocking is ignored at your peril
Apple’s announcement in June saw Criteo, a French based display advertising business take an overnight 7% hit in share price - at the time of writing, this has increased to a 20% drop since June ($45 to $36) - investors are clearly concerned.
The exponential growth of mobile ad spend will continue for the time being (spend increased 59% in 2014 to $1.6bn according to AA/Warc Expenditure report). The advertising community is waiting to see how consumers react but maybe now is the right time to start reviewing options and taking some risks - as a rather successful social media entrepreneur said:
“In a world that’s changing really quickly, the only strategy that is
guaranteed to fail is not taking risks”
A mobile screen audience but not as you know it
The ad industry and the rise of the ‘screen team’ in media agencies will hopefully be looking to spread their wings in terms of finding new, effective ways to access the mobile consumer. And who should be first on their call list? The scalable, digital out of home media owners such as DigiCom, Ocean, JCDecaux, Exterion and Clear Channel can bring a lot to the party.
Growth and advancements in targeting, measurement and reach offer a serious complement to any broad screen based campaign. The numbers are part testament to this - PwC recently reported that DOOH revenue is looking at a 20% growth between 2014 and 2019 to £729 million.
Digital outdoor is no ‘content blocking silver bullet’, but it undoubtedly offers some protection to the threats posed to brands looking to reach this audience. Every week we see further investment in DOOH screen networks, delivering huge audiences via connected sites during people's daily mobile screen journeys. And with no content blocking in sight, there is a clear argument that it should be getting a bigger bite of the online/video display budgets.
How content blocking will play out is still very much up for debate - consumer take-up of this technology is likely to be slow but all research shows content blocking is on the rise. Alternatively, mass migration to app based content consumption is where Apple is putting its chips. Another reaction could be a backlash from publishers via content blocking workarounds making it a never ending game of tech based cat and mouse.
The undeniable truth is that mobile advertising just got a bit more complicated. This sector may be smashing the revenue numbers right now but there is another media channel ready, willing and able to provide a screen based mobile audience - and this comes in the shape of digital out of home.