Content Blockers in Apple’s iOS9: Much Ado About Nothing?

what do safari content blockers in iOS 9 mean for your business?

The latest iOS release, iOS9, includes support for content blockers, or applications that can block certain types of content from the Safari mobile browser, such as advertisements, tracking code, cookies, media, and more that run in the background of most web pages. You’ve likely heard a bit of scuttle as it relates to this and here’s why…

While some of these apps claim to reduce page load times and data traffic, they can ultimately hurt websites and businesses that are running any type of advertising or analytics.

Just how prevalent are these content blockers, and how can they impact the results of your website and mobile advertising?

How Common Are Content Blockers?

Many of these apps and browser extensions need to be manually installed and activated in order to start blocking certain content types (which you can specify). But, due to a number of factors, the prevalence of content blockers is minimal, and in fact, we’ve already seen Peace, a popular content blocking app, removed from the iTunes store. The developer Marco Arment was recently cited in an AdWeek article saying that he realized quickly after the app began to explode in popularity that it could cause widespread financial damage to publishers and other sites that subsist on ad revenue.

What Do These Apps Mean for Your Ads?

For iOS9 devices that have a content blocker installed and active, the content blockers only affect the mobile version of Safari. We ran a few tests over the weekend to see what kind of impact these apps could have on our clients’ advertising.

Based on our initial tests, we’ve only seen a minimal impact to advertising results in the Safari mobile browser.

  • We have not seen any effect on search ads in Safari or any other browser
  • We have seen a slight impact to display and retargeting ads, which may not show up on websites visited using the mobile version of Safari
  • We have not seen any impact to display and retargeting ads in browsers outside of Safari, such as Google Chrome
  • Apps are not affected by content blocker apps, so there is no impact to in app advertising

However, due to the recency of Apple’s support for content blockers in iOS9, as well as the availability of these apps, we can’t say to what extent mobile advertising will be affected by this announcement.

How Can the Impact to Businesses be Minimized?

At ReachLocal, we follow best practices for all our digital advertising — mobile included — and we’re continuously improving our campaigns to achieve top results for our clients.

If you think iOS content blockers maybe affecting the reach of your digital advertising, please contact your advertising provider with any questions you may have. If you’re a ReachLocal client, please contact your ReachLocal representative directly.

Kris Barton

Kris Barton has served as ReachLocal's Chief Product Officer since February 2012. Previously, he was Chief Operating Officer of multimedia software and platform company Nero AG from 2010 to 2012. Since starting at Nero in 2006, Barton also held the title of Executive Vice President of Global Products, overseeing all product development.

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