Who blocks the ad blockers?

Bite the Apple…

Isn’t the Internet a big place? It would take several lifetimes just to read the two week’s worth of content written about Apple building ad-blocking natively into its mobile “Safari” iOS. Well, make that several lifetimes and 30 seconds cos here’s our two pennies. Suck em and see…

Online advertising is still a nascent industry that’s constantly evolving. It needs regulatory bodies like the IAB to focus best practice on the ever shifting sands of technology, business models, standards, and their impact on each other. And the online ad industry needs that more than ever after Apple took what was the niche hobby of ad-blocking and turned it into a mainstream activity purely by virtue of being the biggest tech company on the planet. That’s got everyone jumping on the bandwagon, shouting about the death of advertising as if that alone is keeping the Internet alive. Is it a war? Not quite but the Internet is full of curtain-twitchers who love nothing more than a good morning troll. Plus, it makes great headlines. That said, Apple’s actions will serve as a call to action for an industry in a state of flux, improving online advertising for the better and that can only be a good thing.

In the short-term, the IAB has written code to help smaller publishers block the ad-blockers – essential for the many companies who rely solely on ad revenue. A bit like a protection racket, ad-blockers also offer a white list so you can pay sponsorship money to bypass ad-blocking but the guidelines are inanely restrictive. The list says ads can only be “static” with “no animations, sounds or similar” and “preferably text only”, plus “ads should never obscure page content”. What is it? 1999? The guidelines are littered with redundancy in a world of interactive rich-media, fibre-optic broadband and mobile connected devices.

Of course, there are many, many ways brands can reach consumers online because advertising is nothing if not multi-faceted. Native ads, sponsorship and subscription services all offer higher engagement rates – especially for hardcore and casual gamers. And we offer best practice for niche audiences using targeting to deliver relevant ads on relevant sites. And we only advertise on gaming sites using premium ad inventory and first-party data. Our closed loop system in a vertical market means we only use publishers, advertisers and hardcore/casual gamers. Throwing advertising at the wall to see what sticks is not what we do.

Advertising has always existed and will always exist because people need or want to know about products and services – it’s just the delivery channels that change dependent on market forces. And great advertising sticks. There are loads of brilliant memes, virals and social media campaigns out there now developed by ad agencies that wouldn’t exist in a world of ad-blocking. While Apple has rattled its pram, we think it will help online advertising sharpening its creative talons and we’ll be there, providing the best in show games advertising in the business.