A recently article on TechCrunch titled "Begun, The Mobile Ad-Blocking Wars Have" describes an upcoming war between telecom companies and the advertising industry. In addition to the real costs to telecoms, its also critical for advertisers to recognize and understand how this war can effect our ad campaigns. While it’s important to understand this effect, it more important that we actively seek to punish those publishers who are “bloatwaring" their sites. We are doing them - in the words of Donald Trump - a “HUGE" favor.
What’s The Problem?
The problem comes down to bandwidth and the cost associated with providing access to users. Telecoms are constantly investing billions of dollars to upgrade and expand their infrastructure to compete with each other and ultimately deliver service to its customers, and mobile ads and their tracking software are using this bandwidth. In fact, mobile applications or mobile websites can ping an antenna up to 50 times a minute in a process called background signaling. The telecoms are paying for this. Therefore, we the customers are paying for this. This is on top of the fact that ad clutter already reduces the effectiveness of your ad and can degrade your brand.
The Rise of Mobile Ad Blockers
Desktop ad-blocking software has been around for awhile. It’s one of the things that users love about Google Chrome. In fact, the AdBlock add-on from Chrome has been downloaded over 10,000,000 times and has over 151,000 reviews. It’s not the people hate ads, but it’s that people hate bloatware - and its getting worse. From new PC’s to content websites, bloatware is effecting the way you use the internet. As the migration of internet usage from desktop to mobile continues increase, telecoms and users both are seeking out services like AdBlock Plus and TrustGo to extend these experience boosting services to their mobile devices.
Please Save My Mobile Surfing Experience
Recent offenses include the over use of ads on user generated content site like diply.com. You're scrolling through your Facebook feed on your iPhone 6 Plus, and you see an interesting post on the “Craziest Sports Accidents of All Time” and you click on it. It opens up the content from diply inside of our Facebook app and it freezes as you scroll down. There are 20 photos listed on the headline and it shows 2 content photos per page and at least 6 different ads. So if I wanted to look at the photos, which I no longer will since I closed the app because of the poor user experience, I would have seen 20 pictures and no less than 120 ads. Give me a break!
As John Gruber (Apple Guru) stated on his blog, "Advertising should have minimal effect on page load times and device battery life. Advertising should be respectful of the user’s time, attention, and battery life. The industry has gluttonously gone the other way."
What Can Buyers Do?
Don’t buy ads on sites that are “bloated.” Contact your DSP or your programmatic ad buyer and explain to them that you are concerned with the quality of your ad buys. There are hundreds of millions of ad impressions available so even if you blacklisted 100 of the largest bloatware offenders, there are millions of impressions still available for you to buy. If you aren’t sure of the sites to start with, start here. In reality, your spend is a drop in the pond, and it likely will not make a difference to the publisher, but its just good marketing to avoid these sites (see Ad Clutter Reduces Effectiveness, Degrades Brands).
In reality, the root of the problem will not be fixed, and we will attack the problem much like we did with desktop sites. Telecoms and end users will use ad-blocking software to cut back on the ads, and advertisers will think of creative new formats or messages to stand out in the crowd. Content sites will rise and fall, and many more will come to the market with their ad clutter and the prospect of making thousands of dollars from these ads....
I don't hate ads, and I do realize they pay for many of the services I use today, I just hate when they ruin my experience.