Blog What are Ad blockers?

What are Ad blockers?

Posted on Jan 13, 2016

(by Jim Leseman – Head of Programmatic Consultancy Platform161)

Ad blockers are around for some years, it is not a new phenomenon.

In fact, the first ad blockers that were used on a commercial level date back to 2006. In that year ad blockers were solely utilized on computers (no mobile devices), and were mainly used by tech savvy people (nerds like I am).

Today, the discussion regarding ad blockers is bigger than ever. One of the catalysts in this on-going tale is Apple’s mobile operating system iOS 9. This operating system allows ad blocker apps, something that was before only possible by either jailbreaking or rooting your device (did I lose you with those terms?).

A question that lost focus in the big ad blocker discussion is: why would Apple allow these ad-blocking apps? Well, first we have to know the distinction between the benefits of using ad blockers and its drawbacks. First of all, the benefits are primarily reaped for the device’s user: faster page loading times within their web browser and reduced battery consumption. Secondly, the negative effects of ad blockers are mainly a thorn in the side of publishers and (app) developers: basically, a loss of revenue due to the blocking of ads.

Back to the question: why would Apple allow these ad-blocking apps? Apple is a hardware manufacturer, and will do its best to create the best possible device user experience. If an ad blocker drains the battery less quickly, and makes web pages render faster, why wouldn’t Apple allow the use of these apps?

Interestingly, Apple’s biggest mobile competitor, Android, is manufactured by their archenemy Google.

Since Google/Android is a software developer, contrary to being a fully-fledged hardware creator like Apple, Google’s focus is put less into the benefits of the hardware and more on its advertising network.

As far as I’m concerned, the follow up question is this: “What is the main focus of Apple: improving the benefits of its user, or tampering with the business model of its main competitor?”

We at Platform161 are fully focused on this discussion, and to what extent it will change the programmatic ad environment. However, please remember that you will never pay for a blocked ad.

That’s a guarantee.


Amsterdam, 13 January 2016