Marketers Should Stop Freaking Out About iOS 9 Ad Blocking

By Zachary Clark, Director of Business Development

When Apple released the latest version of their mobile operating system, iOS 9, a short time ago they introduced a new feature that’s sent the marketing industry into a bit of a tizzy. iPhone/iPad users will now have the option to block ads from appearing during their mobile web browsing experience. For websites that run ads, this means less revenue because less eyeballs will be on the ads. As the shift to mobile continues to increase, you could see why this would be a problem.

For marketers who are placing those ads, though, don’t be so quick to pull the alarm. Yes, your ads will now be shown less and less to people who are browsing around on their mobile phones. But, it’s only to the people who are browsing on Safari. Sure, Safari accounts for 55% of mobile browsing in the US, but that leaves a little under half of the market who are using something else, like the Chrome app. Besides, Safari has a “Reader View” option already for many sites that eliminates the clutter around the content you’re reading, effectively eliminating the ads anyway.

So, why am I saying not to worry about this new iOS 9 feature? Because there are options and ways around it where your marketing can remain effective.

Option 1: Don’t Advertise on Mobile

First things first, should you even be advertising on a mobile device? Is your product or service conducive to being bought or used from someone’s phone? Is your website apt to handle a mobile visitor (i.e. responsive or mobile-friendly)? If your website currently isn’t responsive or shows up nicely on a mobile phone, I would suggest extremely limiting your mobile marketing spend, if any at all. Bad user experience will lead to displeased prospective customers and ultimately turn someone off from buying whatever you’re selling. You’re better off spending your money somewhere else, preferably in a place where you can convert a user into a customer.

Option 2: Shift Your Digital Spending

One of the greatest things about digital marketing is that there are so many different options and opportunities to market your products or services. Running digital ads on mobile browsers and on websites isn’t your only option out there. There’s social media, paid search, newsletters, mobile app advertising, online radio like Pandora, and the list can go on. Digital marketing gives you the opportunity to be diverse in where you’re reaching your audiences. And, if you can’t reach someone browsing on safari anymore, so what? You have dozens of other places to spend your money or increase the spending in areas that are effective for your company.

Option 3: Use Traditional Advertising

Perhaps the least preferable of all these options, but still viable nonetheless, is going back and doing some more traditional advertising. Print ads, billboards, public relations, tv, radio, and the rest of the classics that are tried and true. Running a traditional advertising campaign is obviously much more expensive and it’s harder to measure performance, but you can still get the results you desire. There’s something to be said for someone driving by your billboard 5 days a week on their way in or out of work.


At the end of the day, just don’t feel like you have to worry about this ad blocking thing on iOS 9. If you’re a publisher, you should probably be a little nervous and start heavily exploring native advertising and other creative revenue streams, but as a marketer, you have options. You’re not tied to any one medium to sell yourself. The world is your oyster! Cliché, but extremely true.

This is the beauty of being in marketing and advertising, we can always do something different.

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