How Smart Marketers Can Curb Worry Over iOS 9 Ad Blockers

Written by Heather Mueller on November 10, 2015

Posted in Lead Generation, Mobile Forms

Is your marketing team worried about iOS 9 ad blockers?

When Apple introduced these apps in September, it opened up the world of digital ad blocking software to more than 700 million iPhone users. With more than half of mobile Internet activity in the United States occurring in Safari, the adoption of iOS 9 blockers means a lot of ads may never be seen by intended audiences.

The news has stirred up a lot of debates over the value of ads, mostly among publishers who rely on ads to finance free content.

But it shouldn’t scare smart digital marketers. Here’s why:

Users aren’t really trying to block ads.

What they want is longer battery life, faster-loading websites and, in theory, more privacy.

Think about it:

When was the last time someone voluntarily shared an ad with you? Commercials go viral all the time. Similac’s Sisterhood of Motherhood and AT&T’s It Can Wait campaigns were both watched more than five million times on YouTube. Old Spice’s And So It Begins ad had more than 11 million views within three months of its debut.

People like engaging ads.

It’s the stinkers they want to see obliterated—audio that blasts without warning, videos that cover the content they’re reading, and un-closable popups that stand in the way of products they’re trying to research.

Those can really slow down a phone.

For example, one recent audit by the New York Times found that half of all data downloaded from several major news sites came from mobile ads. It took Boston.com 30.8 seconds just to load ads—nearly four times the 8.1 seconds it took to download the same site’s editorial content.

So when the developer of a popular iOS 9 blocker shows how it can load pages nearly four times faster and reduce bandwidth consumption by 53%, users take notice.

It’s time to get comfortable with a world filled with ad blockers and get smarter about maximizing every marketing dollar you spend. Here are three ways to do just that:

1. Evaluate ad performance.

How many leads are you capturing with paid ads? If you can’t attribute actual conversions and costs per lead to your ads, it may be time to re-evaluate your ad spend anyway.

This is especially true if your target niche is one that’s inclined to block ads. Compare iOS and Android traffic in Google Analytics to get a sense of whether you’re  losing leads to Apple ad blockers.

2. Look for alternative methods.

Another big concern for marketers is the fact that iOS 9 apps also block Google Analytics tracking. This means that as adoption increases, so does the likelihood of customers disappearing from your analytics.

Consider alternatives to traditional retargeting and banner ads that can be tracked easily and aren’t blocked. For example, native advertising (also called advertorials) gets your message in front of the right audience and can be used to attract email opt-ins. Affiliate marketing is another good venue because it turns loyal customers into brand advocates.

3. Continue to be helpful.

Users block ads because they don’t want interruptions or bloated devices. They’re naturally drawn to useful, disruption-free content experiences.

If you’re already doing content marketing, consider devoting more of your budget to those efforts. After all, every new blog post and landing page you publish is another indexed web page for people to find in search engines. Instead of relying on ads to drive traffic, now is a good time to focus more on targeted email campaigns and social media marketing.

Over time, ad blockers may evolve to crawl ads so they can differentiate quality ad copy from spam and give users the enhanced mobile experiences they seek. As we wait for that day to come, always be looking for new and creative ways to reach target audiences with high-caliber, high-value content.

Want useful tips for driving traffic and capturing leads through meaningful social interactions that won’t deter prospects the way ads do? Click below to download our guide to lead generation with social media.