Few South Africans aware of mobile ad blocking - IAB

eBay on mobile. (Duncan Alfreds, Fin24)
eBay on mobile. (Duncan Alfreds, Fin24)

Cape Town – Few South Africans have taken to ad blocking tools, says a local organisation.

As marketers race to capture mobile online audiences, advertising has made up a significant portion of smartphone data costs.

According to Danish-based Strand Consult, advertising on mobile phones across the globe makes up around 20% of data costs.

READ: Advertising gobbles 20% of your mobile data

“We are still fortunate in South Africa in that many people would not have the time, know-how or inclination to block ads. However, this does not mean that publishers should not prepare publishers for ad blocking as they grow their digital presence and audiences,” Nathi Maramnco, head of Publisher Council for the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) SA, told Fin24.

Dodgy players

Strand Consult said that, globally, 200 million users have downloaded mobile ad blockers.

“Mobile ads are not passive. You can’t change the channel or leave to the room to avoid exposure. Digital ads are integrated with advanced ad serving technologies to collect information about the users’ behaviour which is aggregated and offered to advertisers to help them make their ad placing decisions,” said the research organisation.

“The market for ad blocking is a big and growing, as consumers use these tools as a form of digital self-defence,” it added.

READ: Advertising malware targets SA smartphones

As consumers shift from print to digital, to mobile internet, advertising have had to play catch-up by placing ads on websites, social media sites, mobile browsing and applications.

However, many ads – particularly from unscrupulous publishers – are designed to take over small screens, and gobble data to the extent that it hurts user experience.

“It’s every publisher’s primary objective to capture and retain audiences so that they can monetise them immediately and later. Therefore, ad blockers force publishers to do what they should be doing anyway, namely, finding non-intrusive, targeted ways to advertise to their audience through quality creative,” said Maramnco.

Banner ads

He added that publishers are turning to native advertising and sponsorships to get their message across.

“To be sure, there is an opportunity for advertisers to improve the format, design and content of their ads and thus gain and maintain the respect of users. Meanwhile ad blocking performs the valuable service to filter those ads which have not evolved,” said Strand Consult.

Apple recently offered ad blocking in its iOS9 operating system and Maramnco said that poor ads would suffer the result of the consumer shift to blocking technologies.

“If publishers’ ads were so intrusive or annoying that readers felt compelled to take steps to block them, the publisher might well be at fault.”

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