Photo Credit: Danielle Schmidt at Bar-Z
Back in November, we posted about the growing ad-blocking trend on mobile. Let’s just say the saga continues as Google Play and Apple try to figure out how they want to handle third-party apps that block ads. We wanted to provide an update since so many people use apps to earn additional revenue.
To recap, Apple’s release of iOS 9 last year included support for ad-blocking within its Safari web browser. Third party apps for ad-blocking then filled the app store and topped the charts of the Apple App Store.
This month, Samsung has rolled out support for ad-blocking in the new version of its web browser for mobile devices, the Samsung Internet Browser. This was through their Content Blocker extension API. This allows for third party developers to build apps that will block unnecessary content on their screens (also known as advertising).
This API sent a lot of new apps to the Google Play store. Only to be pulled from the store and cited for violating “Section 4.4” of the Android Developer Distribution agreement. This sections states that apps cannot be released that interfere with “the devices, servers, networks, or other properties or services of any third-party including, but not limited to, Android users, Google or any mobile network operator.” They will continue to support browser apps with ad-blocking capabilities just not ad blocking apps.
Other apps, like Rocketship’s Adblock Fast or Crystal’s ad blocker, have seen other reactions from Google Play. Crystal found their update get stalled from being posted in the Google Play Store. Meanwhile, Rocketship found their app rejected and filed an appeal. That appeal was approved and left developers only more confused on Google Play’s stance. Regardless, there are ad blockers in both app stores for the time being.
We’ve been doing some digging on our own to find that some of the ad-blocking apps on the Apple App Store don’t just block ads in Safari. There are a few that do block ads in apps that utilize Google’s AdMob or Double-Click for Publishers. The same goes for apps that are still available on Google Play. This doesn’t mean advertisers should panic. There are plenty of other ways to monetize in digital, but more so within the mobile app space. The last few months just begins to prove that everyone needs to be cautious of display advertising. It should no longer be your only form of revenue.
Native advertising is looking like a much more lucrative option. Some ad blocker’s will still recognize and block native advertising on websites. However, that will only happen if it is being served through an ad server. Unlike web, mobile app’s native advertising opportunities can be utilized through the same manner of which your content is managed. These opportunities can be built into the app code through graphics by way of an app sponsor utilizing a button or logo on your home screen. A content management system to upload all your content management system, whether sponsored or unsponsored, is another way we’ve previously mentioned to get around ad-blockers.
The truth is in the last quarter of 2015, ad-blockers have continued to gain steep and are almost as popular as regular desktop adblocking. However, mobile apps still provide plenty of options to get around the issue that a website cannot.