Late last week Apple announced the end of it’s iAd App Network, the service that aimed to incorporate ads into apps seamlessly. Unfortunately, app designers didn’t embrace the service and left it ended up leaving a hole in Apple’s pocket. But what does it mean for digital advertising? With Adblock Plus being uninvited from the Interactive Advertising Bureau conference and news of IOS9’s allowing adblocker spawning hundreds of thought pieces, we look at the increasingly confusing situation for publishers, consumers and advertisers alike.
Whether it be on a phone or desktop, blocking adverts is leaving people feeling a bit torn. The applications give consumers a solution but is giving publishers a problem. TechCruch write
“By blocking ads, you are depriving content publishers (like us, hello!) of advertising income and insights into what readers want.”
To which many would respond, “Yeah, but adverts are just, ugh”. And that’s funny to me because on other mediums (like TV or print magazines) we’re not too bothered about adverts, but when we’re online we think it’s almost our right to remove adverts. I think it’s useful to state now that I’m still undecided how to feel on using Adblock (even though I’m using it right now), and in doing so trying to be unbias as possible. But after all, we all want a faster, cleaning internet experience, right? Everyone but publishers apparently.
Currently, only two UK publishers have tried to tackle the problem, that is they’ve straight up banned individuals from using it, but how many more websites and publishers will block ad blocker (oh, the irony). The “You can’t block us, we’ll block you!” mentality isn’t only native, it’s shortsighted. Developers will create proxies to overcome blocks, so why can’t we find a happy medium for consumers and publishers? The solution might be as simple as paying for content. While it might not be available in the UK yet YouTube Red, the paid subscription service, was set up to counter ad blocking and it looks like it could succeed. After all, millennials will pay for content (see below).
Whether you think ad blocking is a genius or evil application you have to acknowledge it’s benefits and the fact it’s not going away. As ad blocking apps fill the app store charts and companies installing ad blocker as standard in their devices we as consumers need to think about how we want to tackle this. It’s a short term fix but turning off ad blocker when accessing a site you like sends a big sign to publishers. It’s not a fix to the situation, but as publishers struggle to create high-quality content without ad revenue the gesture will help. The reason why there are multiple thought pieces on this topic is because I don’t think anyone knows the answer. Even Marco Arment, the designer of ad blocking app Peace, pulled his app from the store and stated,
“Ad blockers come with an important asterisk: while they do benefit a ton of people in major ways, they also hurt some, including many who don’t deserve the hit.”
It’s an important thing to remember when using ad blockers, but until there is a solution I, and hundreds of thousands more, will continue to use the applications.