Mobile App Terminology

What is ad blocking and how does it affect mobile advertising?

What is ad blocking?

Ad blocking is the use of software or browser extensions to prevent the display of online advertisements. It works by blocking ad scripts and requests, preventing ads from loading on websites or within mobile apps. This can significantly impact mobile advertising revenue and disrupt ad delivery strategies.

Ad blocking has become a hot topic in the digital advertising world. 

With the rise of ad blockers, people have the power to control the ads they see or block them altogether. This has significant implications for advertisers and publishers, especially when it comes to mobile advertising. 

In this glossary entry, we will delve into the concept of ad blocking, its impact on mobile advertising, and explore some strategies that advertisers can employ to adapt to this changing landscape. We will also discuss how some publishers, especially mobile app publishers, can optimize ad units for viewability even if people are using ad blockers.

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Proper measurement mitigates ad blocking …

Understanding ad blocking

Ad blocking technologies, such as browser extensions or plugins or VPNs, prevent the display of advertisements on web pages or in apps. 

On the web, these tools work by analyzing the piece of code on a website and blocking any content that appears to be an ad or malware. On mobile, these tools use a VPN to block known ad serving IP addresses.

The use of ad blockers has surged due to the increasing number of online users seeking to enhance their browsing experience and avoid ads. Many consumers install ad blockers to avoid disruptive and irrelevant ads while visiting their favorite sites. Furthermore, with the rise of the acceptable ads program, users have more control over the type of ads they see. 

This trend is particularly prevalent in the European Union, where strict data protection regulations have influenced users’ preferences for a better experience. On mobile devices, ad blocking is also on the rise.

Brief overview of ad blocking

Ad blocking, often accomplished through browser extensions or VPNs, effectively thwarts the appearance of most banners, video ads, and other advertising content. 

Privacy concerns, data usage, and intrusive advertising are common reasons for users to employ ad blockers. The ever-evolving ad blocking technology, including the use of trackers, poses considerable challenges for advertisers and publishers alike. Its widespread use on desktop and mobile devices significantly impacts publishers’ ad revenue. 

However, ad blocking can also provide a better user experience by removing annoying ads and distractions, allowing users to focus on the content that matters to them.

Technologies utilized in ad blocking

Ad blocking technologies employ various methods to prevent ads from loading. Techniques such as filter lists, blocking rules, and pattern matching are used by ad blockers. 

Additionally, browser-based ad blockers may utilize JavaScript, CSS, and DOM manipulation to remove advertising elements. Another approach is DNS-level ad blocking, where ads are blocked at the network level, often using a VPN.

Some ad blockers even use machine learning algorithms to effectively detect and block ads, while also combating ad fraud and mitigating user tracking on both desktop and android devices.

Consequences of ad blocking for mobile advertising

The rise in ad blocking has created a negative economic impact on online and mobile publishers, leading to revenue losses and a shift in advertising strategies. 

Publishers are responding to this trend by implementing non-intrusive ads. Some browsers, like Brave, are even paying consumers to view ads through platforms like the “acceptable ads program.” These countermeasures aim to strike a balance between users’ desire for seamless digital experiences and the need for a sustainable advertising model. 

As the use of ad blockers becomes more prevalent, it is crucial for businesses to adapt their marketing strategies and explore alternative advertising formats to ensure continued reach and engagement.

The widespread use of ad blockers has resulted in a decrease in ad revenue for online businesses and mobile ads. This phenomenon has compelled these businesses to seek out alternative revenue streams to mitigate the impact. 

Publishers, in particular, have faced significant economic challenges due to the prevalence of ad blocking. As a response, many publishers have had to reevaluate their advertising strategies, leading to a direct impact on their overall revenue. The need to adapt to these changes has become a crucial aspect of survival for online businesses in the digital age.

What publishers can do about ad blocking?

In response to ad blocking, publishers have implemented ad monetization solutions such as subscriptions, and adopted mobile ad fraud prevention tools as countermeasures. 

They are also exploring different implementations of user-generated ads, native ads, measurement partners, programmatic advertising, and different ad networks with more advanced technology to combat the effects of ad blocking effectively. These strategic responses aim to maintain revenue streams and ensure a seamless user experience while navigating the impact of ad blocking on mobile advertising.

Many have also adopted pay or watch strategies when they detect high levels of ad blocker use. People can decide to pay for the content ad-free or nearly so, or they can accept ads and disable ad blockers.

Another option: prioritizing user engagement by delivering ads tailored to individual interests. This shift aims to minimize the reliance on ad blocking by promoting a favorable user experience. 

Also, in mobile apps, ad units such as rewarded ads, playable ads, and interstitials are unblockable, at least if users or players want to receive the promised reward for engagement.

These strategies aim to ensure that ads are seen while respecting user preferences by default.

How can advertisers adapt to the rise of ad blocking?

Adapting to the rise of ad blocking is crucial for advertisers to maintain the effectiveness of their campaigns.

For advertisers, measurement is critical. 

With a proper ad measurement tool like Singular, advertisers can know in almost real time how their ad campaigns are performing. Sites and apps that attract users who use ad blockers and do not succeed in showing ads will show up as low-performing publishers, and advertisers will naturally redirect campaigns and dollars away from them.

In this sense, as long as sufficient publishers find ways to successfully operate even in an ad blocking environment, advertisers will be able to successfully reach their intended audience.

Singular and ad blocking

Singular, a leading mobile marketing analytics platform, focuses on helping advertisers find top-performing media sources to get their messages out to potential customers, users, and players. That naturally preferences publishers who successfully attract audiences that engage with their readers and users in ways that make ads viewable and engaging.

In conclusion, ad blocking has become a widespread phenomenon in the digital advertising industry. As consumers become more concerned about their online experience and the intrusion of ads, it is crucial for publishers to adapt and find alternative ways to serve their audience. 

Implementing non-intrusive and relevant advertising strategies, leveraging influencer marketing and native advertising, and embracing newer forms of advertising such as unskippable in-app ads and sponsored content can help advertisers navigate the challenges posed by ad blockers. 

At Singular, we understand the importance of user experience and strive to provide solutions that address the concerns of both advertisers and consumers. By staying up-to-date with the latest developments in ad blocking technology and taking proactive measures in measurement, we can ensure that mobile advertising remains effective and engaging for all parties involved.

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