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Mobile Apps Bob and Weave Out of Ad-Blocker War
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Mobile Apps Bob and Weave Out of Ad-Blocker War

Publishers may have their fair share of concerns regarding the prevalence of ad blockers, but mobile app developers appear to be escaping the scene with barely a mark on them.

The decision by Apple to allow its users to block ads on the Safari browser through a download of iOS 9 has led to predictions of billions of dollars in lost revenue for display ad-serving publishers.

Across to the world of apps, which Juniper Research claims will generate $7.1 billion in revenue this year, restrictions over programmes being allowed to worm their way into the functionality of other titles means that most of this investment is safeguarded, at least for now.

“The current state of affairs: companies like Apple and Google exploring avenues that enable consumers to block mobile ads. In fact, Apple’s ios 9 update will encompass ad blocking software,” highlights Asaaf Surprasky, EVP of mobile at Matomy Media.

“The good news is you can sleep at night – ad blocking didn’t kill display advertising and won’t kill mobile advertising. Why? In-app advertising.”

“Slight impact”

It’s been suggested that part of the demise of display ad-dominated revenue models can be attributed to failure by advertisers to produce ad formats that resonate with the user.

However, the reception of mobile apps, some of which boast millions of users, and the growing figures for spend within these titles has led to display’s resurgence on smartphones and tablets.

“In-app ads are a huge factor as to why mobile advertising will remain profitable, sans any new red tape an advertiser is forced to address,” comments Surprasky.

“With consumers’ mobile habits shifting from mobile web to in-app experiences, coupled with the difficulty ad blocking tools face when infiltrating apps, I estimate that ad blocking will only have a slight impact on the digital advertising ecosystem.”

The app market is facing problems in other areas, though, and for the advertiser this time, rather than the publisher.

Research from fraud detection group Forensiq estimates the cost of unscrupulous activity such as hidden-ad loading and the emulation of human behaviour to produce fake interactions to stand at $1 billion in 2015. That will fall at the feet of the advertiser, who is conned into believing their ads are making an impression.

A drop in the ocean

Solid estimates for the cost of ad blocking to publishers remain hard to come by. Projections range from the $1 billion suggested by financial services group UBS for the introduction of ad-blocking software on iOS 9, to the $22 billion indicated by Adobe for the same thing.

But regardless of the damage, analysts see no reason for blockers like Purify and Crystal to pose a real challenge to the revenue flooding into advertising on mobile devices.

“To put it simply, there are too many dollars being spent, and too much demand from advertisers and publishers, for mobile advertising’s success to face a steep decline,” Surprasky adds.

Richard Towey

Richard Towey

Richard serves as head of content at PerformanceIN. After many years spent covering developments from the automotive, sports, travel and finance sectors, he eventually turned his full attention to reporting on stories from the fast-evolving world of digital marketing. Richard now heads up the editorial team at PerformanceIN: the performance marketing industry's leading publication.  

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