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Apple’s secret ad blocking tech, time to kiss adwords goodbye

15 June 2015

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4 minute read

Last week Apple held its worldwide developers conference in San Francisco. A chance for the tech giant to showcase its latest software developments ahead of new product launches this autumn. In amongst all the innovation was one little nugget of information hidden in the developer pack, which has the potential to massively affect the way millions of businesses market themselves online. 

Apple’s secret ad blocking tech, time to kiss adwords goodbye

Apple is now giving app developers the ability to create ad blocking software for it’s mobile operating software. 

“The new Safari release brings Content Blocking Safari Extensions to iOS. Content Blocking gives your extensions a fast and efficient way to block cookies, images, resources, pop-ups, and other content.

SOURCE: Apple Developer Notes

What does this mean?

To date the majority of Apple users have been unable to block adverts when browsing the web on their mobile devices. Bing, Google Adwords and Yahoo adverts have all been displayed quite happily alongside organically listed content. In the autumn this is all set to change with Apple's plans. You'll be better off throwing your money down the drain than paying for adwords when approx 70% of users will be able to block your ads.

Is this the death of Google adwords and PPC?

Watch this space...Apple has a history of bold moves with technology. With the launch of the iMac they signalled the death of the floppy drive, with iPhone and mobile Safari they pretty much killed off Flash animation and their pro line up of Macs were the first to be noticeably missing a cd drive. 

Apple has everything to gain from this direction, a mobile browser free from ads. There aren’t many consumers who wouldn’t want that.

ID-100136441What is ad blocking?

Ad blocking is a piece of software that removes ads from your web browser. If your business relies heavily on PPC (pay per click advertising) the increased use of ad blocking is not going to be welcome news. 

Consider these stats

  • Back in February AdAge reported that Adblock plus had surpassed 300 million installs, which is up 100 million on the previous year.

  • In January Apple announced that it had sold 1 billion IOS devices. Not all of those will still be in use, but even so that’s a huge web audience that are about to be given an easy way to block ads on the devices they use the most.

  • PPC advertising already has a limited reach. According to Search Engine Journal, 70% of search users skip adwords, 90% if your college or university educated.

When is Apple likely to implement this?

Developers were informed about this feature at the World Wide Developers Conference last week so it’s likely that you’ll see ad blocking apps emerging when IOS 9 is released this autumn.

How likely is it?

In short, very likely.

As a marketing manager what can you do?

If anything this is an early warning of the direction the industry is moving in.

The change won’t happen overnight but it’s important to remain mindful that paid advertising will have a declining reach as ad blocking adoption increases. Couple this with an industry trend of reduced effectiveness from paid advertising it is time re-evaluate the role of PPC advertising in your digital marketing strategy. 

Diversification is the key

As with many things diversifying is the best way of minimising your risk.  If paid advertising drives the majority of your website traffic, consider shifting your focus to gain more organic content led traffic.

The most effective way of ranking organically is by applying an inbound methodology to your digital marketing. This is where you use content as a way of attracting inbound visitors to your web site. Ranking organically for your key search terms will take time, but this will be rewarded with longevity and sustainable results.

Apple's move signals a trend for the industry, so apply this gradual migration to your digital strategy. Gradually reduce your businesses reliance on PPC while you grow your organic positioning.

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Final Thought

The last few months have brought considerable change in terms of digital marketing. In April Google's mobile update impacted millions of desktop websites, forcing marketing teams to act quickly for fear of losing search positioning. In our blog 'When Google Bites: 3 Tips to get your traffic back' we suggested 3 quick fixes to offset the potential losses of the Google update. One of these fixes was PPC advertising, but it now seems that Apple has PPC in its sights, so that quick fix is just that.

It's a turbulent world of change for the digital marketer, the key is to be aware of the forthcoming changes and plan and prepare for them. Interesting times, please let me know what you think, or comment below.

PHOTO CREDIT: Ad Displays Image courtesy of franky242 at

Topics: Inbound, Content Marketing

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