Apple's release yesterday of the iOS 9 mobile operating system may shift the way brands and communicators think about mobile, with the company's introduction of support for ad-blocking apps to the Safari browser.
The technology allows users to download apps that act as extensions to Safari that bar ads from being shown while surfing the web. The update does not affect the way advertising functions within individual applications like Facebook or Twitter.
It should be noted that the update doesn’t come with ad blockers baked into Safari. Users have to download individual apps and activate them within the browser's settings. Each app offers different functionalities, but generally speaking the apps embargo the ad itself, cookies and other browsing data typically collected through mobile ads.
Even though similar ad-blocking applications aren’t supported by Google’s Android operating system—which holds about 51 percent of the U.S. mobile market compared to iOS’ almost 42 percent—Apple’s move has the potential to radically change the way brands use paid media to connect with their audiences. By effectively blocking ads on mobile-friendly websites, the company is not only undercutting its archrival Google—which has cornered the online advertising market—but also nudging communicators and media buyers to place more value on in-app ads when navigating the mobile ecosystem.
Even though it’s only been a day since the update, communicators should heed this seismic warning sign. Ad-blocking app Peace is already the top paid iOS app in the country, with another ad blocker taking the number 5 spot. With ad-blocking tech becoming the norm for both mobile and desktop—there are 45 million desktop users employing ad blockers, according to a study by Adobe and PageFair—the days of browser advertising may be coming to an end.
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