Yes, Mobile Ad Blocking is Good for (Almost) Everyone

adblock-mobile-2015There’s an interesting conundrum in the world of mobile advertising that’s not getting much attention in the recent spate of news on Apple’s ad blocking interface.

“What’s remarkable and timely about enabling ad-blocking on mobile is that it collides with arguably the biggest shift of money in advertising’s history — from traditional media to the mobile screen,” writes Tom Goodwin of Havas Media & Marketing.

“The surprisingly rarely challenged assumption in advertising has always been that there should be a relatively close correlation between time spent in a channel and the advertising spend within it,” Goodwin continues. “So as we spend more of our lives staring into our smartphones, the need for marketers to spend more money on mobile grows by the day.”

This assumption makes it easy to jump on the panic wagon, looking at the billions of ad dollars at stake in this high-risk game. Yet Goodwin points out that it’s far from being a crisis, and could be a really good thing for the long-term viability of the mobile ad space.

As he rightly points out, “the modern mobile internet is a total disgrace. It’s a tragedy of the commons, a slow, cumbersome mess that at best endlessly steals attention and focus, and at worst grinds to a halt.”

As more consumers get over the ethical questions around ad blocking and adopt the technology, advertisers must adapt.

“What ad-blocking will mean for everyone in the ad industry is that they need to start thinking differently about the mobile experience. Ad agencies need to get imaginative, publishers and media owners need to start respecting consumers’ attention spans, and brands need to produce quality messaging and learn to attract and entertain,” Goodwin writes.

He predicts we’ll see a few tactics rise to the front, including more really good advertising that people actually enjoy (like the fashion ads in a print version of Vogue, or the Superbowl-level of wit in our ad experience), along with a rise in the quality of content used in sponsored content and editorial partnerships.

It’s the brands that recognize their job is to help their customer base, not annoy them and sell to them, that will win in this new landscape. The losers? Those brands that continue to insist on disruptive and intrusive ad practices. They’ll simply be blocked into oblivion.