By: Nick Pappalardo
With the introduction of Apple’s new iOS 9, there comes a new hidden feature. Apple’s newest update has software capable of blocking online mobile advertising content. This software is based off of Safari’s already existing content blocking capabilities on the Mac OSX operating system. This is not the first effort to block mobile advertisements though. Applications such as Crystal and Purify are available on the App Store, and offer the ability to block mobile advertisements. These apps also promise things such as decrease page load time as well as extended battery life, all from blocking mobile ads. However, this new software could significantly hurt mobile advertising revenue.
According to Google, there are now more searches on its browser using mobile devices and smartphones than on desktops. There is a convenience factor with mobile devices that allows users to look up a topic easily on the go rather than waiting to use a physical computer. However, desktops still account for 56% of all online sales. Smartphones produce three times more traffic than they do sales. This suggests that more people use smartphones to research products first, then use a desktop to purchase the actual item. All this increase in heavy mobile traffic has shifted advertisers to increase their mobile advertising spending. In 2015, mobile advertising spending will account for 49% of all advertising spending. This number is expected to increase in 2016 to well over 60%.
So why exactly do smartphone users hate mobile ads so much? According to research done at Dartmouth College, four out of ten mobile users say they don’t even notice mobile ads. 70% of people say they are “too busy” to even acknowledge mobile ads and do not retain any information they may provide. 54% of mobile users feel frustrated, while another 69% feel annoyed when a mobile ad disrupts their browsing. Mobile internet browsing seems to be based “on the go”. A study has shown that mobile browsing rarely exceeds 15 minutes, with most searches lasting only a few minutes.
So how do advertisers move traffic to their sites with this new trend of mobile ad-blocking? Many companies such as Eyeo, allow ads that align with their content to pass if they meet their “acceptable ad guidelines”. Other companies such as RevContent utilize a new form for advertising to drive traffic to advertisers’ websites. RevContent offers a “content recommendation widget” that provides products based on the content the user is viewing. This is a much less obtrusive way to advertise without disrupting the user’s browsing. Android also offers a unique way for users to see advertisements. If an Android user has the “Android Store” application downloaded, all Google searches will provide a button that says “Show In App,” which will then bring the user to the item in the store to allow for a faster shopping experience.
Apple is not 100% pure mobile ads though. Their “News” application will feature advertisements in it. However, these advertisements will be sold exclusively by Apple to advertisers that they deem to be acceptable. Although the future of mobile advertising is uncertain, it will be an uphill battle if companies follow Apple’s lead. Mobile advertising has become such a huge portion of advertising, and companies will need to find new, creative ways to drive traffic to sell their products.