In September, I wrote a blog on why mobile advertising is expected to grow based on Mary Meeker’s yearly Internet Trends report. Something to be considered is that there is also an opposing force to this: ad blockers. When you think of ad blockers, you probably think of it as an extension on your browser on your desktop that can only block ads when browsing on your computer. Ad blockers have kept up with the times and now provide smartphone-wide ad blocking...mostly with the exception of native ads.
Of course, advertisers want to stop these ad blockers because mobile advertising pays bills, people’s salaries, and a lot more. Take for example, Facebook’s advertising revenue in Q1 2016: 82% of all of Facebook’s advertising revenue came from mobile ads, up 73% YoY. On the flip side, PageFair estimated that ad blocking resulted in global revenue losses totaling $21.8 billion USD in 2015. That’s a significant amount. Now, a lot of that is from APAC where people tend to be more bandwidth-conscious and don’t want to waste data on ads. Comparatively, only 2% of smartphone owners in the US use ad blockers. But advertisers obviously don’t want that trend catching fire in the west.
Facebook, one of the biggest stakeholders in mobile advertising (thanks to their deterministic data) has been playing a game of cat-and-mouse with ad blockers blocking Facebook ads. This made for some good headlines like the one by The Register: “Adblock Plus blocks Facebook block of Adblock Plus block of Facebook block of Adblock Plus block of Facebook ads.” This isn’t something we’ve never seen before. And the battle will probably never end.