The New Mobilegeddon?

What Apple’s Embrace of Adblock Technology Means for Digital Marketers

Sep 2, 2015 · 4 min read

With Adblock usage exploding, organic advertising through social media, apps, and website traffic holds the key to the future of mobile marketing.

Is this the next Mobilegeddon?

Apple and Google have each announced major changes that will affect where and how digital ads can be displayed. Apple is building support for the Adblock extension into the native iOS browser, and Google is replacing Flash ads with HTML5 in Chrome.

Adblock usage has risen sharply in the last year, and with iPhones supporting the extension as well, a significant swath of the mobile advertising market may soon go dry.

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Say it isn’t so. Why is Apple doing this?

In April, Google’s “Mobilegeddon” changed the search algorithm to favor sites that are mobile responsive. As more people browse the web on their mobile devices — which currently account for around 30% of all web traffic — a top-notch mobile experience has become essential.

But, mobile ads can increase page load times by as much as 300%, and ads can be overly intrusive on a small screen. If you’ve ever been innocently scrolling through a listicle of the Top 24 Taylor Swift Reaction Gifs, only to be interrupted by a slow-loading pop-up ad, you can relate. These poor experiences have pressured Apple and Google to improve their users’ mobile experiences, even at the expense of publishers’ profits.

As with the hype for the last Mobilegeddon around SEO, the concerns are real. But this is hardly the end of your mobile advertising campaigns. The industry is adapting, and this change highlights the importance of a well-crafted targeting strategy.

What this means for your online advertising program

First: don’t panic. Adblocking technology will not be enabled by default, so iPhone users will need to download software to make it work. It’s not as though all iPhones will be immune to ads immediately.

Still, given Apple’s share of the mobile market, digital advertisers must develop new tactics and strategies as more users enable built-in ad blocking. Below are five areas of focus that will offset Adblock’s effects:

1. Include search, social media and apps in your mobile advertising plan. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and others offer their own unique targeting capabilities for reaching users. Social media also allows user interaction and sharing, providing active value to users while delivering messaging.

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This sponsored Tweet appears in the Twitter news feed and provides immediate value to the target audience.
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In-application ads can be tailored to specific apps and user profiles to deliver targeted, integrated messaging.

And of course, search engine marketing targets users who are already seeking your product or service.

2. Develop precise targeting and tailoring strategies to reach your audiences. Focusing your impressions on the audiences who count will become more important than ever. Ad inventory may decrease, meaning competition will become more fierce. Careful crafting of your messaging will become essential to cut through the clutter.

3. Invest in content marketing. Content is still king — even on mobile. A long-term investment in content marketing will give you a wide variety of benefits. A solid content marketing plan engages your audiences, establishes your expertise, earns SEO benefits, increases brand awareness and trust, and sends traffic to your mobile site. If you haven’t yet pulled the trigger on content marketing, now is the time.

4. “Cookie” and target your mobile site visitors. Most social media platforms allow you to “re-target,” or serve ads to users who have previously visited your site. Therefore, boosting site traffic — through email, content marketing, public relations efforts and traditional advertising — is critical to broaden your marketing audience. Retargeting ads on mobile devices are an effective way to re-engage users and move them down the conversion funnel.

5. Test. Because advertisers may see an increase in cost-per-click over time due to a smaller mobile ads inventory, testing is even more critical. Investing in platform, audience, and message testing will ensure you’re putting the best-performing ads in front of your audience. The efficiency you will gain from running tests can offset a higher overall CPC.

As a digital agency, we see advertising parameters change all the time. As a result, we continue to work with our clients to adapt and succeed in the digital space. We’ve seen firsthand the influence that strong creative and strategy have on a campaign’s success. This change in the marketplace will just amplify the importance of those factors.

A smaller display audience will make mobile advertising more innovative, but not less important or effective.

To learn more how this change could impact your digital advertising programs, contact IDMLOCO at

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