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What does wide-scale ad-blocking mean for advertisers?

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The last few years have truly seen connectivity become mobile, and our mobile devices are fast becoming our primary way of accessing the web. And this means that a major shift in advertising online. Advertising-funded services have seen revenues higher than ever before and have caused a deluge in spending across the board, with Facebook spending on average $6.5 billion annually.

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Though some are seeing huge benefits from this shift in preferences, it’s the networks themselves that are seeing their margins get slimmer and slimmer. Some operators are trying to purchase established platforms for advertising (such as Verizon’s recent $4.4bn outpour on AOL), while other operators are coming around to the idea that content providers should hand over more of their revenues instead.

An Isreali start-up, named Shine, has developed a piece of software that blocks most types of advertising on mobile devices, yet may leave paid advertising on chosen networks such as Facebook and Twitter. Several major networks have been considering loading this software on their networks.

Mobile operators have stated that they’re only implementing such measures for customer interests, and that pop-ups and other forms of digital advertising can use up as much as 10-50% of a consumer’s data allowance each month. But how such changes could be implemented will decide the credibility and sustainability of its proposals. If the solution to blocking ads is provided as an option towards the consumer, then maybe there could be some longevity in a wide-scale implementation. The network’s intentions are hardly well-hidden, they want a share of the revenues that others have gained, and that they have missed out on due to their position in the market. And due to their place as an integral cog in the media machine, they can afford to demand this, providing networks hold together, opposed to bidding against each other, they actually may be able to ransom content creators to it.

And then this leaves Advertisers. Where can they go from here? Greg Potell, a partner in media and communications at A.T. Kearney, suggests that this could encourage experimentation. He says that “The ability to communicate meaningful content in the right context transcends ad blocking.” In the longer term, there could be positives to take from ad blocking if marketers can apply themselves to finding new effective ways to reach consumers on mobile. The more strategic marketers will revisit their content strategies, and challenge themselves to offer more relevant and rewarding audience experiences, and earn their audience.

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