Y’all it’s happening. Ad blocking is coming to a network carrier near you! Well, that is if you live in the UK or Italy.
The mobile company Three announced this week that they are planning to block all ads via a new technology that will be deployed at the network carrier level. You may be thinking, “Why do I care about this?”, so I’m going to put it into perspective for you. Just in the UK alone there are 9 MILLION Three customers. Now are you concerned? If you’re not, well, honestly you should be.
Think about it, there are 9 million people in the UK who you are no longer going to be able to reach at one of the most valuable touch points of the purchase cycle – the research phase. (Just a little reminder from one of my previous blog posts that 44% of consumer’s use their smartphones during this phase of the cycle*). So how are we going to reach them now? Will we rely more heavily on search in the mobile space? And if that’s the case, your brand is going to need to be top of mind which will likely lead to more branding campaigns. There are so many questions and not very many answers at the moment.
While we are still pondering the riddles of the digital advertising space, let’s take a look at Three’s adblocking POV. The Guardian covered the company’s press release stating that the CMO, Tom Malleschitz, noted three main reasons why they are moving forward with this initiative:
- Their users are paying for data so they should not be bothered with annoying and pesky ads. If advertisers feel this is wrong, well, then they can cough up the $$ for the data charges.
- Some advertisers are shady and are collecting consumer data unbeknownst to these consumers. (Not cool, y’all!)
- They want their users to have the best mobile experience ever and they believe this means getting rid of irrelevant advertising. Tom states that the mobile experience today is “degraded by excessive, intrusive, unwanted or irrelevant ads”.
Well, Tom, these are all great points but, do you think you’re driving the internet to a freemium model? My guess is, “yep, probably”. Think about it. Web sites make their money off of advertising dollars so if you take this away they are going to have to look to other sources for an income. It’s probable that if this network-wide adblocking catches on, then a lot of sites are going to start charging users to consume their content (similar to sites like Spotify and Hulu).
Tom did mention that they plan to work with advertisers to “deliver a better, more targeted and more transparent mobile ad experience to customers”. I am all for this as it will lead to more targeted and personal ads. So, Mr. Malleschitz, I’d be happy to sit down with you and chat about how we can make mobile ads work for everyone. My wheels are already churning! (Audience based DSPs are at the forefront of my thoughts. Blog post on that to come).
* Forrester Research Commissioned by Tapad (4/20/2014)