The launch of iOS9 has put ad-blocking firmly on agencies’ and brands’ agendas.
Ad-blocking has been around for ages but recent developments have put it on the radar of more people than just the young, tech-savvy audiences. Ad-blocking is a browser extension that prevents banner ads being served (though not native or in-stream ads), and prevents pixels being placed on publisher sites.
For an industry that has been trying to get to grips with tracking consumers across devices - ironically in an attempt to make ads more relevant - this Apple update is hugely significant.
Agencies have been keen to play down the issue but ad-blocking companies have been talking about Doomsday scenarios.
Ad-blocking as a practice is already big. A report published in August by Page Fair stated a 41% global yoy growth in ad-blocking, with the UK the biggest market at 82% growth, and it is estimated that, as a result, publishers are missing out on $22bn of global ad revenue.
While the number of people taking up mobile ad-blocking is so far pretty insignificant, the App Store is reporting a rise in relevant app downloads. That said, ad-blockers cannot block ads in Apps, which represent a huge amount of mobile time, so for now this is a safe haven for advertisers.
The challenge for advertisers doesn’t change – those millennial audiences will still be hard to reach and we still need to create better experiences on mobile devices, so it might just help raise creative standards.
Education might really be the answer for all.