Ad Blocking

ICYMI: How Mobile Adblock is Growing Outside APAC

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Mobile adblock is an APAC thing. Mainstream software and tech companies, however, are doing their best to change the status quo and respect their users’ demands. Here’s why mobile adblock could become a global phenomenon by 2018:

Samsung‘s OS update “tripled mobile adblock activity on Android devices within Germany and Switzerland, over the course of 2 months,” according to Contentpass, a Berlin-based ad tech outfit.

“On Oct 30, 2017, the very same day Samsung released version 6.2 of their Android web browser, ad blocking rates jumped and continued to rise every day since. Samsung’s latest browser comes with a built-in “tracking blocker” which blocks requests to certain ad servers known for user tracking.”

– Christoph Tavan, CTO, ContentPass (source)

Apple Inc.‘s Intelligent Tracking prevention feature has been around for longer to provide Safari users with a similar option. Ad tech companies, however, came up with their own workarounds to continue their targeting. The tug of war continued until Apple reclaimed the upper hand.

The latest update to iOS negates most tracking workarounds in Safari. Criteo, a major retargeting company, conceded that tracking prevention features will affect their revenue until they can come up with another solution. The company’s shares plummeted 26% after the announcement.

Google‘s entry in the adblocking arena is on the horizon as well – the company has committed to a rollout date for its Chrome ad filter. Starting February 15th, 2018, the Chrome filter will provide the option to block ads classified as ‘intrusive’ by Coalition for Better Ads’ standards.

Once the filter rolls out, Google will begin removing all ads from domain(s) that receive a ‘failing’ status on Ad Experience report. The company is advising AdX publishers to fix all violations for desktop as well as mobile web platforms.

The coalition has announced that it will launch a Better Ads Experience program come January 2018 to assess “voluntary participants” (sellers and ad tech vendors) based on a framework. Those who pass the assessment will go on to be listed in CBA database as:

  • Certified Companies: Publishers compliant with Better Ads standards
  • Implementation Entities: Browsers and other ad delivery technology companies that filter ads based on CBA standards.

According to AdAge, volunteering would require a “donation” of $5,000 a year or less, depending on the publisher size.

AdBlock Plus, the maverick accredited for starting the current chain of events, is wrapping up 2017 with total 13 million downloads for its Android Browser and 600k monthly active users.

The more recent Adblock Plus for Samsung Internet, by contrast, has over 2 million downloads and 1 million active users – 50% of whom are from the USA and Europe. Ben Williams, Director of Communications and Operations at Eyeo, says, “We are seeing a preference for how people block ads on their mobile devices. Unlike a standalone browser, AdBlock Plus for Samsung Internet works with user’s native browser as a separate app.”

It’s been frequently cited that users have no love for digital ads for reasons of online tracking, intrusive targeting, and general annoyance. User awareness (and usage) will follow as efficient mobile adblock options get readily available outside the APAC. Let’s hope publishers across the world are prepared for this assault.