User concerns over privacy and trust, which have traditionally plagued the online advertising industry, are starting to come to light in the mobile app advertising world.
Recently, a study focused on fraud detection revealed thousands of mobile applications in both Google and Apple’s apps stores misled marketers by loading invisible adverts that cannot be seen by users, and in doing so costing the marketing and advertising industry an estimated $1bn a year.
The findings from this supports further evidence that advertising fraud is spreading rapidly from online to the mobile app advertising market, which is expected to grow by up to 50 per cent to almost $21bn this year in the US alone. In light of this, Ben Williams, Head of Operations for Adblock Plus suggests that the impact of this could have a huge knock-on effect for consumers already weary of such practices, and actually spark greater demand for ad blocking technology:
“Earlier this year a survey from YouGov revealed that 72 per cent of consumers in the UK felt concerned about their private information online, including the safety of their emails, files and pictures. As consumers start to place a greater reliance on mobile technology for viewing, storing and sharing data it’s likely these concerns will transcend across and if that is the case, the mobile advertising industry is going to have to start addressing some pretty big grievances currently in the market, notably the rise in mobile advertising fraud.
“The figures from the fraud detection report are likely to be quite worrying for advertisers and marketers, as the study suggests that malicious apps are expected to account for a disproportionately large amount of the ad space for sales amongst ad exchanges – the digital marketplaces that allow advertisers to place ads across thousands of different mobile apps. If this continues to escalate, then the mobile app advertising industry runs the risk of suffering the same fate as the online industry over security concerns with advertising. The next challenge therefore will be addressing negative perceptions of mobile advertising, amongst mainstream consumers, who are likely to switch off if they feel threatened, turning to tools which can support their security needs, such as ad blocking technology.
Williams continues: “The popularity of ad blocking shows just how eager consumers are for wanting to avoid annoying and intrusive adverts regardless of whatever device they are on.
“The challenge for the entire ecosystem is to be able to monetise sustainably while eliminating threats like this. What’s perhaps changed is that now no one is disputing that ad blockers have a seat at that table. So while it’s hard to imagine a world without fraudsters, or bad ads for that matter, if users, ad blockers, privacy advocates and ad industry representatives address challenges like this together, solutions can be found.”
About Adblock Plus
Adblock Plus is an open source project that aims to rid the Internet of annoying and intrusive online advertising. Its free web browser extensions (add-ons) put users in control by letting them block or filter which ads they want to see. Users across the world have downloaded Adblock Plus over 250 million times. It has remained the most downloaded and the most used extension almost continuously since November 2006. In 2013 PC Magazine listed the extension as one of the best free Google Chrome extensions, and it received a 2013 About.com readers’ choice award for best privacy/security add-on.