Ad Blocking And Viewability In Mobile Advertising: Help Or Hindrance?


Originally published on MediaPost

2016 is going to be another important year for mobile. With so many consumers living their day-to-day lives around their smartphones, marketers and advertisers are striving to keep up with the ‘mobile’ trend.

Predicted to be worth around $71bn, mobile is going to account for nearly 40% of the advertising market this year (Zenith Optimedia, 2015). However, with ever-growing industry success, obstacles are going to arise.

Ad Blocking

Mobile ad blocking has been one of the hottest talking points in the tech and marketing industries since the close of last year. Despite not being a new phenomenon — ad blockers have been available on desktop browsers for years — they have caused panic among publishers, advertisers and marketers.

Apple was the catalyst for the ad-blocking issue when they released iOS9 in summer of 2015, which introduced new technologies to support ad blocking.

Even until recently, there have been huge developments on the issue with network provider 3 Mobile announcing in March that it will introduce ad-blocking technology to their customers in the hope to ‘eliminate all mobile advertising.’

This is naturally a huge worry for publishers and advertisers, with 3 Mobile having a potential 9 million customers in the UK and Italy who will be affected by their decision.

Mobile marketing company Tune released a new report highlighting that nearly a quarter of people (24.6%) surveyed from the US and Europe had downloaded ad blocker software as of January 2016; triple growth over just three months.

But it isn’t all doom and gloom. With obstacles there come solutions, and for ad blocking to be combated, we need to understand why ad-blocking technology has been developed.

A sigh of relief for advertisers and publishers will come from the fact that 84% of global users would reconsider installing ad blockers if they were given the choice to skip or close the ad (Research Now, 2015). It was also found that the No. 1 driver for ad blocker adoption was intrusive and forced ad spots.

User experience is therefore an important factor to the consumer, making it clear that there is a need for more creative, targeted and less intrusive mobile ads from ad network. This will convince users receiving digital ads is not as invasive as it once was. Adapting to the obstacles facing mobile advertising and adhering to the standards consumers want will hopefully lead to a more a streamlined and less intrusive industry.


The issue of mobile ad viewability has become a hot topic over the years. First, there are formal industry guidelines set by the IAB or Media Rating Council (MRC) meaning there is ambiguity surrounding how mobile ad viewability should be measured. Second, brands are unsure whether their mobile ads are viewed at all and thirdly, brands are also unsure whether they pay for ads that aren’t actually visible.

2016 could see the ambiguity surrounding ad viewability re-emerge as a substantial obstacle, which comes to no surprise, considering that ad viewability is one of the top campaign optimization goals.

Reducing the number of discrepancies surrounding ad viewability and the need to produce a more comprehensive industry standard guideline will be key issues this year. Currently, the IAB and MRC only provide the industry with interim guidance on ad viewability. This guidance states that mobile ads should be counted as viewable in the same way as desktop ads are. If 50% of the ad is visible for at least two seconds, the MRC says this will also count as a view.

In the meantime, many mobile ad networks will develop their own technologies in order to provide their clients with accurate viewability statistics. Select mobile ad companies have developed innovative tech solutions which ensure that advertisers are only paying for ads that have been seen.

With advertisers imposing more stringent requirements on the issue of viewability, especially in light of ad blocking, it will be interesting to see how the issue of ad viewability will progress throughout 2016.

Ad blocking and viewability are two significant issues. But if satisfactory solutions to these problems are applied, 2016 could be the year for much less intrusive, more engaging, tailored ad experiences for consumers and finally, reliable industry guidelines on viewability for advertisers.



AdSpruce Mobile Video Advertising

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