Mobile campaigns continue to represent new ground, but online marketers often struggle to sit mobile alongside regular channels in the online mix.

Not helping matters, the new Safari release now brings Content Blocking Safari Extensions to iOS:

“Content Blocking gives your extensions a fast and efficient way to block cookies, images, resources, pop-ups, and other content,”

writes Apple in its developer documentation for iOS 9 which they’ve launched last week.

This could influence the performance of mobile campaigns. and it is an important fact to be aware of since:

  • iOS users via Safari are responsible for a high proportion of mobile traffic
  • Safari’s share of high-income consumers is likely larger (based on cost of device, which can vary per market)
  • Ad-blockers on Android have shown a decrease of 5-10% of available traffic in the past

For stats and background information, a good read is this Adobe report called ‘The cost of ad blocking’. This mainly covers, desktop browser ad blocking, but does reach into mobile. An interesting fact on desktop is that its Google’s own Chrome browser hurting themselves the most by blocking ads. Funny world.

How do we measure effects of ad blocking and adapt?

  • Naturally, keeping an eye on analytics is the first port of call, especially understanding your current OS mix from mobile.
  • As the report suggests, an understanding of the type of demographic that may or may not choose to ad block. This may give rise to an impact on certain value products, while others are unaffected.
  • What would the effects of ad block be on brand? Would it enhance or subtract? This depends on how contested your brand is on search.
  • For generic search, it hints that once again, good SEO and long tail KW strategies will work in favour if ads are blocked.
  • Remarketing impact could be big, so recovering down-funnel drop-offs with alternative methods like email collection/ abandonment notices is key.
  • Keep informed of ad blocking trends and takeup of mobile apps/ awareness.

In many ways removing ads could be seen as levelling the playing field, but alternative strategies as mentioned above must be strong enough to compensate. As it stands at the moment, it is unlikely any immediate effects will be felt unless you are looking to specifically target high-value products at tech-savvy, or gaming-based, mobile users. In addition, I expect Google, Facebook et all will be looking at any growing ad block trends with alarm, and we’ll likely see some major policy changes as they move to protect revenue streams.