Buying digital ads won’t help business much if consumers never see them.
Consumers have been able to block ads for years, but so far it has taken a certain level of technological savvy. That changes tomorrow, however, when Apple releases its latest operating system update. Users of iPhones and iPads will find it easier to visit a website without seeing a single ad.
Apple, in fact, will encourage users to turn on the ad-blocking option by telling users that it extends battery life.
The new ad-blocking option that could impact about 25 percent of all mobile phone users isn’t the first tool that blocks ads. However, it’s a big step in a technological upheaval that could change the way digital media makes money, and the way advertisers and real estate agents promote their services. While apps like AdBlock have allowed users to ignore ads in the past, the Apple upgrade will suddenly make it easy for casual users to do so.
Some marketers compare the change to the adoption of Netflix, noting that many Netflix users discovered that they really like ad-free TV. And once they get used to ad-free TV, many don’t back to regular channels.
Scott Cunningham, senior vice president of the Interactive Advertising Bureau, told The New York Post that ad blocking is “one of the biggest sea changes to affect the Internet ad business in 20 years. … There is a concern that ad blockers could become a top 10 seller” in Apple’s app store.
In addition to the use and placement of online business ads, the change could impact existing websites. A number of real estate advertising websites, for example, could find that home listings appear for users but not some types of paid ads along the side. Since ad sales represent a big portion of some websites’ online revenue, the Apple change could impact a few business models in a big way.
The full impact of Apple’s change isn’t clear yet, however. Marketing experts are still trying to figure out the ramifications, but most agree that ad blocking will happen. It’s a matter of time.
“The free Internet is going to have a major problem and that’s a concern for all of us. It’s a huge issue,” Steve Carbone, head of digital at MediaCom told The New York Post.
An ad block tracking company, PageFair, says about 45 million American users already block ads, and the number is growing even without Apple’s upcoming option.
The problem is particularly acute for advertisers trying to reach the millennial market, since younger adults generally have a better understanding of technology, the desire to individualize their online experiences and insight on how to do it.
Source: Clair Atkinson, New York Post, Sept. 14, 2015
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