It’s undeniable that ad-blocking creates a better Internet experience. Nice clean pages, no flashing ads, or, God forbid, pop-ups. The difference is even more noticeable on your smartphone: faster load times and less of your already-tiny screen wasted on ads.
At the same time, however, ad-blocking takes away the main source of revenue for content creators – advertising is their livelihood and the reason why we get to enjoy most of the web for free today.
Blocking ads has actually been popular in Europe for a while. According to the same PageFair study, more than one third of Greek Internet users run ad-blockers. Ad-blockers are really only now gaining steam in the US, with an estimated 10 per cent penetration.
The most recent debate was fueled by Apple’s decision to support (3rd party) ad-blockers in the Safari browser with the release of iOS9. Phrased differently, while ad-blocking was previously mostly a desktop affair, it is now supported by Apple, and with that, half of the worldwide mobile market.
Furthermore, since a ton of ads are trafficked and sold through Google (e.g. Doubleclick), many believe that Apple’s endorsement is part of a larger goal to replace Google’s (blocked) ads with advertisements sold (by Apple) in the brand-new Apple News App. The fact that the News App was released alongside the support for ad-blockers in iOS9 only fueled this conspiracy theory.
This line of thought was flawed from the beginning – Apple has given its users the ability to block ads in Safari FOR YEARS. Just press the “reader mode” button in the left corner of the address bar, and you get a squeaky clean reading experience.
And there’s additional evidence suggesting that ad-blockers in iOS9 are neither make nor break.According toeMarketer, mobile advertising in browsers ($8bn) will only be a smallish portion of total mobile advertising dollars ($28.7bn) in 2015.
And as popular as the iPhone is, mobile Safari “only” commands a 24 per cent market share (source: NetMarketShare). That also assumes all iPhone users switch (or can switch) to iOS9. And third, Apple only supports ad-blockers; they don’t pre-install. iPhone users still need to download an app from iTunes, install, and activate it.
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