A panel discussion about ad-blocking at Mobile World Congress showed just how high the tension is getting between advertisers, tech companies and ad blockers.Speaking to a packed room full of marketers, execs from Google, Shine, Nestle, AOL and Yahoo talked about why consumers use mobile ad blockers and what marketers can do to improve the quality of online ads. Much of the talk specifically revolved around mobile ad blocker Shine and how it is working with carriers to remove ads.
Ad blocking software use grew 41 percent in the 12 months to August 2015 and there are now 198 million active adblock users around the world. Ad blocking was estimated to cost advertisers $22 billion last year. Ad-blocking has gained the support of some major technology like Apple, that announced last year that Safari on iOS 9 would have ad-blocking capabilities. Meanwhile, several mobile operators like European carriers Three UK and Three Italia said they would adopt network-level ad blocking using technology from Shine. Google and Yahoo, that power millions of digital ads publishers rely on to make money, have accused ad-blocking software Shine of destroying the relationship between advertisers and consumers, after an executive from the company called its solution a “nuclear weapon” threatening the industry and punishing good advertising.
Roi Carthy, chief marketing officer at Shine, said during the panel that Shine is the “single biggest threat to online advertising” because it gives consumers the opportunity to not be “abused by ad tech.” He added that Shine’s sweeping blocking practice offers the ad industry an opportunity for improvement. “We are not against advertising, we are motivated to protect consumers” he said.
Ad blocking is a huge threat for publishers but we also have to be sensitive to consumers. What could be a win-win solution? Do you think better targeted advertising would solve the problem? Can marketers stop ad blocking by offering free data?