Attracting U.S. Ad-blocker Prospects
As we know from the 2016 PageFair and 2017 Web Index reports, the first mobile ad-blocking solution to gain traction in North America or Europe will connect with a large, latent audience of former desktop ad-blocking users. Current barriers to such increased adoption include lack of awareness about ad blocking options on mobile, the unwillingness among users to use an additional or a new browser, the fragmented landscape of apps, browsers and extensions on mobile vs. desktop, on mobile, within Android and iOS, and on iOS within OS versions and devices. This particularly affects females over the age of 30 who aren’t college-educated or very technical.
The reports also show younger, male, college-educated prospective and current users in the U.S. to be more informed and willing to use an ad blocker of any kind, especially on mobile. One way to overcome this is to raise awareness about the importance of ad blocking and how individual users can take control of this on their multiple devices. This will take providers time and resources, and there will always be a certain percentage of the population who neither care about blocking ads on their mobile devices, nor understand how to do it.
Ad-blocking on Mobile
From a user perspective, it is rather confusing, especially on mobile, where it can be tricky knowing how you can block ads in browsers or in apps if you haven’t looked into the topic and if you’re not a technically savvy user. Chances are you won’t try too hard to block ads, which makes me think that an approach towards partnering with popular mobile browser apps to enable solutions like AdBlock Plus within them will be the winning approach for most target audiences.
Some mobile browsers (e.g. Firefox Focus) are ad- and tracking-blocking by design, while others (e.g. Chrome in the near future) will offer users the ability to enable ad-blocking extensions. Making this known to users, of course, will be key in cases where the mobile browser extension isn’t enabled by default (for the female segment this can be by partnering with popular online platforms and magazines and doing more on social). Users need to know what they have to do to enable Adblock Plus within their mobile browsers, similar to what the Adblock Plus iOS app currently does. Future app builds should make it even easier for users to block ads not only within browsers but within apps, too, and automate the setup process for them as much as possible.
Driving AdBlock Plus Installations in Europe
At present, driving installations of the Adblock Browser app in Europe (and elsewhere) requires users to use a separate web browser. As mentioned earlier, even though users may want to block ads, their desire to continue using the browsers of their choice may take precedence over that inclination.
Mobile Ad-blocking Apps
If ad-blocking providers are determined to drive Adblock Browser installs vs. implementing a strategy towards integration with agnostic mobile browsers that allow and enable the AdBlock Plus extension, it would then pay to focus on promotion of the app in the iOS store. For Android, a search in the Google Play store reveals that the app isn’t available outside of Samsung devices which is a lapse that needs to be remedied for non-Samsung users. Once that is accomplished, focus can be shifted towards Google Play app store promotions, as well as alternative app stores (e.g. the Amazon app store), in addition to driving mobile app installs through inbound marketing (Reddit and other forums, content creation, distribution and SEO, social media and guest posts, targeted landing pages, and more).
EU Partnerships to Seize
In Europe, in particular, it would be important to partner up with providers with similar goals to cross-promote Adblock Plus and Adblock Browser to their users (e.g. PEP & Telegram, in addition to joining efforts with EU and EC initiatives towards cyber security and privacy. Participating in events like Web Summit or Webit would also help providers increase awareness for their solutions and talk about their practical implications. In more technical terms, integrating Adblock Plus into the Flattr extension could be a promising future development.