Advertising gobbles 20% of your mobile data

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

Cape Town - At least a fifth of your mobile data is consumed by advertising - a situation that has prompted the rise of ad blocking software according to international research.

According to a research note from Strand Consult, 20% of data traffic on a smartphone is intrusive advertising.

“This is frequently traffic that subscribers don’t want and haven’t asked for. Video ads, in particular, slow the internet experience and can render in such a way to obstruct the actual content the user requests, not to mention burn out the device battery and run up the customer’s data charges,” Copenhagen-based Strand Consult said in a statement.

In SA, mobile services make up 24.7% of household budgets, almost five times higher than the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) guideline of 5%.

Mobile advertising is big business as companies rush to place their ads on small screens. According to eMarketer, mobile advertising in 2016 will hit $100bn, accounting for more than half of digital advertising spend.

Ad blockers

READ: Advertising malware stalks SA smartphones

But Stand said that some mobile advertising can also be malicious.

“Not only are some ads irrelevant to users, a number may be infiltrated with ‘malvertising’, the malicious practice of embedding malware within legitimate advertising (or even running parallel to legitimate advertising), which can infect users’ systems without even clicking on the ads.”

Security firm Kaspersky Lab recently found that South African mobile phones are being targeted by Trojan malware that employ advertising as the main source of monetisation.

“In the first quarter of 2015, the mobile malware Top 20 contained just one Trojan of this type; by the end of the year they made up more than half of the rating. Despite the fact that these Trojans are designed to download and install advertising applications without the user’s knowledge, they can cause a lot of problems,” Roman Unuchek, senior malware analyst at Kaspersky Lab USA told Fin24.

In some countries mobile operators have employed ad blockers on their networks to limit the impact of intrusive ads for subscribers.

Three in the UK announced plans to introduce ad blocking across its UK and Italian networks to protect customers from “annoying” adverts.

“While operators want to protect their customers and meet their needs, many advertisers are understandably upset. In some countries, the use of ad blockers may be as high as 20% in some customer segments,” Strand said.

- Follow Duncan on Twitter

ZAR/USD
16.77
(-0.03)
ZAR/GBP
21.15
(-0.12)
ZAR/EUR
18.95
(-0.03)
ZAR/AUD
11.66
(-0.03)
ZAR/JPY
0.16
(-0.09)
Gold
1798.22
(+0.06)
Silver
18.69
(+0.13)
Platinum
824.50
(+0.30)
Brent Crude
43.14
(+2.10)
Palladium
1961.36
(+0.61)
All Share
55417.89
(-0.66)
Top 40
51154.08
(-0.74)
Financial 15
10472.31
(+1.28)
Industrial 25
76134.69
(-1.67)
Resource 10
52483.78
(-0.20)
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes morningstar logo
Company Snapshot
Voting Booth
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
I'm not really directly affected
18% - 1961 votes
I am taking a hit, but should be able to recover in the next year
23% - 2570 votes
My finances have been devastated
34% - 3820 votes
It's still too early to know what the full effect will be
25% - 2749 votes
Vote