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.
My love of automation is something I partly blame on the classic 80’s game of Mouse Trap – if you haven’t had the pleasure – check this out.
Mouse Trap was a miniature version of Wallace and Grommit’s breakfast making contraception – or a slightly higher brow analogy would be the beautiful ‘Heath Robinson’ machine in Honda’s – The Cog.
As a kid, the idea that I could do something over here that could make something else happen over there was the closest I’d ever come to having a super power. Fast Forward to 2015 and although the tools may be little different, I still get a small sense of childlike glee when my hall lights automatically come on when I get to the end of my street, or I get a photo emailed to me of the person ringing my doorbell outside. Automation and efficient use of our data is a relatively recent phenomenon. It’s also something we have a tendency to associate with Google or Facebook, but then who said it was only the big boys in the digital playground that could reap all the benefits? We can all leverage our devices and data with the right tools – this is where the likes of IFTTT and Zapier take centre stage.
“Who said it was only the big boys in the digital playground that could reap all the benefits from our data?”
What is IFTTT?
If This Then That (IFTTT) was founded in December 2010 by a 28 year, Linden Tibbets. At the end of 2014 it was valued at around $170m and has been touted as one of the most influential ‘Internet of Things’ companies around. Its simple purpose is to help automate your life. It does this by triggering an action (i.e sending an email, turning on your music) if a certain criteria is met (i.e your location/temperature) . If it sounds a bit complicated, it really isn’t - the beauty of IFTTT is its simplicity. I managed to get my first ‘recipe’ working within minutes.
A recipe is just a nice way of saying; if you combine two ‘things’, which you will likely already own or have access to, the resulting love child of these two technologies can do a whole lot more than if you hadn’t put them together. Or, back on the theme of 80’s TV shows – this is like merging Optimus Prime with Starscream – the result is a one very unbeatable and kick ass transformer.
Be an Auto-bot, not an Auto-not’
“IFTTT is like merging Optimus Prime with Starscream - the result is a kick-ass transformer”
And the important point here is once you’ve combined these technologies or ‘activated them’, it can continue to run in the background so you never have to lift a finger again. You’ll probably have already activated these benefits without realising. You’ve likely granted Google Maps permission to ‘talk’ to your phone so it can know your location through location services - the efficiency delivered here is that it means it will serve you taxi companies in your area and not ones based in London, Kentucky. Its worth mentioning at this point that Google Now, Siri and Cortana are making inroads into this type of automation but do not allow the degree of tailoring of IFTTT or compatibility across platforms that IFTTT can provide.
IFTTT Automation for Work and Creative Thinking
In this world of media and advertising, the principles of IFTTT are already hard at work in various guises. Weather triggered advertising is one of the most cited uses. In fact, Ross Webster from The weather Channel gave a great overview (include date). During my time at Amscreen, we delivered a simple but effective example by Ford through Mindshare and Kinetic - specific creative featured across the screen network when certain temperature based triggers were met. Automation like this is also seen within online and mobile based programmatic advertising that serves up relevant content when various audience targeting metrics are identified.
With the huge proliferation of data, the possibilities of triggered/automated advertising are only really limited to your imagination (and of course the publishers ability to activate it). Data plays an enormous role in our personal and work lives more than ever, but how many of us have consciously leveraged it for our own personal benefit?
IFTTT may just be a gimmick to some but its approach of encouraging us to play with data and platforms will probably help us look at how we deliver tangible benefits for brands through their own data. Ideas such as British Airways’ ‘Look Up’ delivered by OgilvyOne, Clear Channel UK, Posterscope and Carat is one such example of having fun with data and delivering something memorable. Someone once said;
“Serious play is not an oxymoron, it is the
essence of innovation”
These kinds of stand-out ideas are surely born from this philosophy.
So, just for starters, here are some of the quickest work based recipes you can implement that offers just a taste of the fun and genuinely time saving solutions that can be achieved with these kinds of platforms and principles: