Monthly Archives: October 2015

Mobile Ad Blocking Era: The Promise of a Better Future

 

Mobile Ad Blocking

 

While the recently launched Apple ad blocking feature casts a shadow on the mobile ad industry, it also brings a release to millions of smartphone users. We`ve all been there, facing mobile websites, overloaded with molesting banners, interstitials and auto-playing videos that drive attention from the page content and slow down the load time. Ad blocking apps have reached top charts hours after launch, proving that users are so tired of aggressive ads, they are ready to proactively stop them and to pay for this opportunity. 

 

 

Ad blocking has already conquered the web: PageFair and Adobe 2015 Ad Blocking Report shows there are 45 million users in US who utilize ad blocking, and the number is growing year over year. Now it’s time to face this issue on iOS devices. Ad blocking brings positive changes to users, making their web surfing experience more enjoyable. But will publishers, ad agencies and advertisers be agile enough to adapt their strategies and avoid losses? ComboApp is trying to weigh up pros and cons for all parties involved.

 

 

There are some serious predictions about disruptive outcomes for publishers. Advertising is the main source of revenue for most of them, especially when it comes to middle-size and small publishers. Adobe and PageFair report claims ad blockers would cost publishers $21.8 billion this year. Web development firm 10up predicts that publishers will lose between 3% and 11% of their ad revenue due to ad blockers within the next eight month. This tangible threat of ad revenue losses makes publishers think about alternative ways of making money:

 

  • Less free web content. It is quite possible that big part of publishers, who now provide free content in exchange of ad displaying, will switch to paywalls. Publishers could also move from the web into their own mobile apps where ads are not blocked or deliver content to social media apps like Facebook.
  • The rise of native ads. Mobile ecosystem will make a shift from programmatic display ads to native ads that could avoid blocking. Yahoo chief executive Marissa Mayer says that advertising should be vibrant and content rich in order to keep up with Internet development:

 

 

“We are big believers in native ads because they enhance the user experience and are much less disruptive and they are great properties in terms of value they give to advertisers.”

 

 

The perspective of switching to less aggressive ad format rises the controversial question: Who should be in charge of distinguishing whether each ad format is “good” or “bad”? Should ad blockers allow ads that track users` activity or have obscure content if they don’t fall into aggressive display ad category? Eyeo GmbH, that created popular desktop ad-blocking tool Adblock Plus, has a practice of letting companies show their “acceptable” ads in exchange for payment. Eyeo is reaching to other ad blocking apps` developers now, including popular iOS-based app Crystal, to establish mutual policy on allowing certain apps to pass filters. Users play an important role in whitelisting ads as well. According to 2011 AdBlock stats, 75% of users either whitelisted sites or allowed acceptable ads. The team of iOS app Crystal says that as much as 71% of their users whitelisted particular websites.

 

The creator of ad blocking Peace app, Marco Arment, has pulled his app from App Store right after it became a number one paid app in US. Marco said that this success “just doesn’t feel good”, and ad blocking approach should be more complex:

 

 

“Peace required that all ads be treated the same — all-or-nothing enforcement for decisions that aren’t black and white. This approach is too blunt, and Ghostery and I have both decided that it doesn’t serve our goals or beliefs well enough. If we’re going to effect positive change overall, a more nuanced, complex approach is required than what I can bring in a simple iOS app.”

 

 

The supporters of ad blocking believe that this trend opens an opportunity for all market players to fix the fractured system of intrusive, behaviour-tracking ads. Publishers should get rid of excessive ad placements and third-party networks cookies on their sites. Ad agencies, networks and advertisers should choose more sophisticated and native-looking ad formats to provide users with simple and relevant ads.

 

There are still time to find the balance between user experience and monetization. According to RadiumOne recent report, there are no significant decrease in the number of ads being delivered on iOS devices after the iOS 9 launch. The ad blocking feature is available on the newest iPhone models only, and will be adopted by users gradually.

 

 

Should app developers prepare?

 

 

Whereas publishers are the first to experience the biggest impact from Apple ad blocking feature, app developers could prepare to tune their marketing strategy according to new trends ad blocking will bring.

 

  1. The overall influence on mobile inventory number won`t be massive, since in-app ad spending outreach mobile web browser dollars nearly 3-to-1. (Source: eMarketer). With ad blocking enabled in Safari, ad spending will likely to shift to apps that offer more controlled experience.
  2. It`s time to turn from standard programmatic ad format to native-looking ads, that doesn`t look like ads at all: content rich ads, simpler and more transparent formats.
  3. Targeting matters even more, since relevance increases the  advertising experience. Marketers need to provide relevant ads in terms of geo location, app category and demographics to engage potential users.

 

 

Eugenia Dychko, Content Manager

4 Important iOS 9 Features App Developers Shouldn’t Ignore

 

iOS 9 New Features
The updated iOS features will change the way apps are searched, discovered and displayed.  App developers will need to adapt their app marketing strategy based on these changes. ComboApp chose the most important and overlooked iOS 9 features that app developers should consider.

 

Search API, Deep Linking

What’s New? Deep-linking based technology is integrated into the Search feature. This means that Spotlight will use user’s apps as a major search channel, thus exposing in-app content that will help to improve app discoverability. App content could now be displayed after typing App Store keywords. This is how it works. A user searches his or her device for “pasta” and gets results from a recipe app even if he or she doesn’t have the app installed.

How should app developers adapt? Think about what content can be found within your app and pay more attention to keyword relevant content. Deep-linking will certainly help enhance app promotion and app retention by providing a new channel for attracting potential user’s attention to enhance LTV via reactivation campaigns.

 

Siri Suggestions

What’s New? Before a user reaches the search box on his or her device, Siri fills a search page with apps and new suggestions that are most relevant to the user. Siri does this by learning user’s habits and gathering behavioral data.

 

How should app developers adapt? If your app is one that gets regular user attention, you will definitely benefit from the search page shortcut. On the other hand, apps like contextual and seasonal ones may experience a small negative effect when a user is constantly distracted by popular app suggestions. If your app icon could potentially get lost among tons of other apps that are already installed on a user’s device, don’t forget to create relevant short names for you app to make it more visible and easy to discover.

 

Reduced OS and Apps Sizes

What’s New? iOS 9’s file size is small in comparison to iOS 8 (1.3 GB vs 4.58 GB). There is also a technology called App Thinning that helps optimize the size of installing an app. No more space restriction when it comes to installing app updates!

 

How should app developers adapt? Small iOS 9 size has stimulated its quick adoption so developers should not hesitate with adjusting a marketing strategy. As for App Thinner, app developers should be careful. Now in Xcode 7 a bit code is generated during compilation for platforms that are supported by the app. This option is enabled by default but some third-party libraries are not compiled with bit code. If your app uses these libraries, then you should deactivate code generations (Include ENABLE_BITCODE=NO into the project settings).

 

Ad Blocking Option

What’s new? It’s the first time that Apple is allowing users to block ads. It is only available in Safari extensions, so this affects mobile web ads only. Ad blocking is supposed to help bring advertising relevance and quality.

 

How should app developers adapt? There will be no impact on in-app ads so no need to worry. If your user acquisition activity depends on the mobile web then it’s time to reconsider your marketing strategy and turn to better performing app inventory.

 

Some additional tips on iOS 9:

 

  •  App Transport Security technology, as it is clear from the name, can help make data transportation more secure. It is enabled by default so if you server does not satisfy the ATS requirements, connection will end up with a mistake saying “An SSL error has occurred and a secure connection to the server cannot be made.”
  •  We strongly recommend that app developers look through the official list of iOS 9 innovations and implement them all, if possible, into apps. You can get your app featured after release because Apple likes to feature apps that have implemented maximum novelties.


Although there is a lot for app developers to consider and apply, iOS 9 provides a great opportunity to create valuable in-app experience and reach out to a wider audience. If you need professional help getting your app high on the App Store and acquiring new user for your iOS app, contact the ComboApp team.

 
Eugenia Dychko, Content Manager

The Power of The Collective

 

The Collective

In the age of digital world big changes happen every day. But only some of them can really shake the market and set up the new rules of old game.

For this time such turning point in advertising industry was an announcement of first data-driven project called Collective. It’s was created by the initiative of a mobile ad attribution company Kochava that teamed up with four mobile ad networks including AdXcel, Altrooz, Appia and Liquid. The main questions are whether this association will bring Kochava a competitive advantage and how it will affect the current leaders such as Appsflyer, Tune and Adjust. It’s only a matter of time when a redistribution of market players’ forces will start.

 

 

Just imagine the scale: the participants of this joint project develop the largest Mobile Graph™ which helps advertisers precisely detect the needed custom audience and target it by multiple parameters seriously increasing the value of an ad impression. At the heart of this idea lays an audience API layer for the exchange of information between advertisers, publishers,  measurement partners and the Audience Manager. 

The Collective

Source: kochava.com

But what about the data safety? Managing such amount of the information requires strong security system. Kochava affirms that to keep clients and measurement data secure and independent Audience API Layer technology, personally-identifiable information (PII) is closed for being shared by the Advertisers using the Collective.

 

The Device IDs doesn’t passed to the advertisers in any form, it rather uses its network connections for the recommendation of an ideal network to reach targeted audience members. With changing target criteria the recommendation will also changes.

 

Charles Manning, CEO, Kochava, explains: “Asking an advertiser to hand over their unique user data is akin to asking a professional sports team to hand over their playbook, along with notes on what’s working and what’s not, to their competitors. The Collective believes that the advertiser’s data is their data and we adhere to how the advertiser wants their data to be treated. At the same time, publishers want to make their audience data available to advertisers to enable better targeting, filtering and ad buying – at scale. We achieve both with the Collective.”

 

How it affects the other market players? Basically there are Facebook and Google and many other independent players.Talking about Facebook there are chances it may interpret the emerging of Collective as a competitive step from Kochava’s side and go on the offensive, crushing the foe as it has happened before with exclusion of Tune from its tracking partners.

 

VB reports that “the Collective has access to a massive network of ad networks and publishers — 1,400 of them — that Kochava has already integrated into its platform. This means there should be plenty of supply and a lot of demand”. So joining this network independent players receive a chance to target and acquire mobile users at scale and with a level of precision they’ve only dreamed of. 

 

But the question of price is still open and requires seeing the Mobile Graph™ in action to measure its effectiveness and understand the correlation between cost of acquisition and ad campaign scaling.   


ComboApp professionals will continue monitoring the mobile advertising market in order to keep abreast of this issue to recommend the best decisions for our clients. Stay tuned!

Anna Grabovska, Content Manager

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