Marketers Beware: Invasion of the Ad Blockers

To date, ad blockers have had a minimal effect on the world of web marketing. Advertisements on websites are ubiquitous; for the most part, consumers don’t bother blocking the ads. This is expected to change, given Apple’s recent announcement that the next version of its operating system will let users easily install apps that block ads.

Making ad blockers easily available to hundreds of millions of iPhone and iPad users will have a tremendous impact on how we use our devices. Parents, for example, will be able to eliminate unwanted advertising on their children’s phones. Tests on news sites proved that ad blockers can allow websites to load up to four times faster and reduce data use by 53%.

The Impact and Disruption of Apple’s iOS Safari Ad Blockers

The $70-billion-a-year mobile-marketing business will take a hit. It is estimated that ad blocker software will reduce spending on Internet ads by $12.5 billion. From the perspective of the consumer, Apple’s new advertisement-blocking update may seem like a browsing boon, but what if your employer relies on web marketing to attain new leads and clients?

Will Apple iOS Safari Ad Blockers Affect Advertisers?

The short answer is: Yes. Here’s how:

  • Web-based ad prices will increase.
  • Return on Investment (ROI) will decrease.
  • Potential clients will be more difficult to reach.

Apple iOS Safari ad blocker will have a very real impact on companies that rely on online marketing. A decrease in the number of ads means the adword inventory will be reduced. Before now, web marketing existed in an environment where a steady increase in websites and users provided a constant increase in ad inventory.

It is very possible that we will soon enter a period where ad inventory (i.e., a publisher’s available ad space) decreases. With companies competing for the few paid marketing opportunities available, B2B and B2C marketers will see adword prices rise. Rising prices will impact ROI, which will likely decline. Additionally, potential clients who employ ad blockers will become less reachable. Remarketing to previous website visitors will likely no longer be an option.

Using Adwords in a World with Apple iOS Safari Ad Blockers

Going forward, businesses intending to use online advertising should do so with caution. The adwords market will change quickly and will be unforgiving to those without experience. Hiring a firm with adwords experts will be more lucrative than ever. The experts will be able to effectively monitor program performance and determine when it will be impossible to quantify ROI.

A comparison can be made to selling products on Amazon. Depending on the category of item, Amazon’s fee can be up to 20% of a product’s selling price. If the seller only earns 20% gross margin on a product and Amazon charges 20% to sell the product on their site, there isn’t any ROI. Similarly, if the price of ad space spikes, the ROI for web marketing will probably suffer.

Using SEO to Overcome Apple iOS Safari Ad Blockers

Web marketing pretty much started with search engine optimization; this new development in ad blocking will likely shift the focus of web marketing back to SEO again. In a world inundated with ad blockers, web searches will still be a viable way for users and online businesses to connect, but a successful SEO strategy will be crucial for the discoverability of products and services.

As competitors realize SEO is the most reliable way to succeed, the SEO playing field will become more competitive; SEO content providers will need to rework their strategies. Content creation is and will continue to be king, and the constant publishing of new, highly optimized pages, blogs, case studies, and PR will be more important than ever.

Social media will remain important, as it will continue to be a way to support content. It will also remain a viable means of advertising, though the cost of that advertising may increase to better support a market with limited advertising opportunities.

Author Steven Rothschild is a serial entrepreneur. He is currently the CEO and cofounder of Applied Interactive. Applied Interactive is a strategic web-marketing firm focused on delivering a consistent supply of leads for national and regional growth-orientated clients. Previously, Steve was the professor of innovations and entrepreneurship at Clark University. Steve also founded and served as CEO of and