1. iOS 9 ad blockers
The Good, The Bad & The Ugly side for Publishers & Advertisers
Mobile Audience as a Service Platform(MAAS)
Content Strategist, Aﬄe
2. What’s this about?
So, it is Apple versus
Publishers & Advertisers?
Or should we say -
Apple versus Google?
(As you know, Google is the No. 1 digital adver-
tising company on the internet and 90% of its
substantial revenue comes from advertise-
ments. Of course, we can foresee a good ﬁght
(This feature is also available for Safari on OS X)
Installing the ad blocking extensions
from the app store
Tuning the settings to include and
exclude ads as per your preference
The latest news about the iOS 9 update
with ad blocking extensions has taken the pub-
lishers and advertisers by storm. This update
which is scheduled for a release in September,
2015 has stirred up a huge debate on whether
it’s the end of the world for publishers and
advertisers whose revenue models are based
on pushing advertisements on the mobile plat-
According to this iOS 9 update, users can
choose to install ad blocking extensions from
the App store to enjoy an advertisement free
mobile browsing experience on Safari. Howev-
er, ad blocking will not be the default setting for
a user. Say, a user wants to block advertise-
ments on the Safari browser, it will involve
these following steps:
3. What are the threats?
How big a threat are these ad blockers?
If it becomes popular on iOS, this trend of ad blocking will also reach the android platform.
Publishers & Advertisers will lose out on their revenue.
Ad Blockers are not a new thing when it comes to web browsing as popular ones like - AdBlock and
Adblock Plus (ABP) already exist. There are many users who have been using these blockers in
Chrome, Firefox, Opera, Internet Explorer, etc. But Apple’s oﬃcial endorsement of ad blockers in the
mobile space has caused a lot of discomfort amongst publishers as - Now the target audience is
mostly on mobile. That’s where you have to catch them! As per statistics, maximum users use mobile
phones to browse so it can really aﬀect the publishers. More speciﬁcally, Safari happens to be one
of the most popular mobile browsers in the US.
Mobile Safari represents 52% of the mobile
browsing market (and 14% of total web browsing).
With support for ad block apps in iOS 9, we expect
ad blocking on mobile Safari to trend towards the
levels seen in the mobile version of Firefox [16%].
Two kinds of opinions have emerged on this –
Arguments for and against Ad Blockers –
One of the ﬁrst ad block-
ers developed for iOS 9 is
Purify which is supposed
to wipe out all sorts of
irritating ads on all iOS
A look at Purify – It will
work as a native ad and
tracking blocker for
How Purify works?
Check out the video
Ad blockers will cut down the revenues of the Publishers & Advertisers. As per some early
reports, publishers are likely to lose $21,8 billion in 2015 and this ﬁgure might almost double to
more than $41 billion by 2016.
Ad blockers will actually instigate the Publishers & Advertisers to a drive away from the tradi-
tional model (ad banner business) and raise the bar of their content. Also, move towards in app
advertising to truly usher in the era of mobile ﬁrst generation.
How powerful the blocking will be is still uncertain – We need to wait and watch.
Users have control on what they want to see and what not. Ad Blockers is for the beneﬁt of the
users. Ad blockers will save the data wastage for users who are annoyed with advertising pop
ups eating into their time and money.
Counter argument – Ad blockers are harsh on the phone memory (CPU/RAM hogging) and
drain the battery – Causes performance issues for mobiles – That’s why they are unpopular
amongst mobile users.
5. What are the possibilities ahead?
What are the optimists saying?
Although Apple’s move may enable it to consolidate its position in the market, it may not neces-
sarily be an impediment for publishers and advertisers. In fact, Apple might be giving a big push
to the idea of an app-ﬁrst economy by driving traﬃc towards its iOS certiﬁed apps and prompt-
ing the publishers to follow its lead.
This also means that Apple is instigating the Publishers & Advertisers to a drive away from the
traditional model (ad banner business) so as to raise the bar of their content. Also, move
towards in app advertising to truly usher in the era of mobile app generation.
Not everyone is panicking with Apple’s news. Surprisingly, there are quite a few interesting perspec-
tives that have come up and they surely ring in the optimistic bell.
Publishers might be pushed to a state of
greater dependence on third party platforms
such as Apple News, Facebook Instant Articles
and Snapchat Discover, etc. These platforms
may emerge as decision makers in terms of
having an authority over what qualiﬁes as
‘news’ according to their content radar. While
big publishers may get past this block, it may
not be the same case for small publishers and
bloggers who lack a strong inﬂuence. So, in the
worst case scenario, these small time publish-
ers may be the worst hit lot.
Apple’s move may trigger a backlash-Apple may make too many enemies in the internet space
and they might gang up against Apple by hampering its web experience- where certain sites are not
compatible with Safari.
Make a case for advertisements - We need
to remind the users that even though some
advertisements could be annoying, they are
actually serving a greater purpose which needs
to be highlighted. Ads are paying the bills for of
the content that is available for free. They
ensure larger access to content for all internet
users. So, shooting ads down also means that
we are shutting some of our favourite websites
In-app advertising will thrive: This may actually be good news for the mobile-ﬁrst companies as
it this ad blocking trend becomes popular, it may actually set oﬀ a shift in the inventory from
mobile web on iOS to an in-app scenario. That is, mobile web inventory will go down and it will
lead to an increase in the value of in-app inventory.
Now, advertisers may start banking more on the idea of switching towards in-app advertising.
This move might indicate a greater bent towards native advertising as it is non intrusive in
nature and ad blockers cannot really “block” these placements.
The eﬀective cost of media buys should ideally go up as supply will now be restricted to only the
‘interested users who don’t want to block ads’.
Another obvious route that can be adopted by publishers and advertisers is to get their ads
white-listed while they buy the time to come up with some innovative strategies.
Publishers can actually take a leaf out of Facebook’s approach of creating its own app ecosystem,
while dealing with this situation.
This is deﬁnitely a speculative piece as it is too soon to draw conclusions at this point. It will be inter-
esting to make some thorough observations after Apple launches its iOS 9 update. In the mean time,
Publishers and Advertisers need to monitor their business statistics quite carefully. The real picture
can only be certain after analyzing the situation post the iOS 9 launch and examining its impact on