Operators warned they should let ad blocking subscribers do what they want
While network-based ad-blocking may be perceived as a customer friendly option, research firm Strategy Analytics said it would expect that move to generate negative sentiment and controversy from advertisers, publishers, and regulators, which would outweigh any potential benefit.
The research company stated that instead, operators should follow the lead of Sprint, Telefonica, and Verizon and add value to the mobile advertising ecosystem.
“Even without the participation of mobile operators, the use of mobile ad-blockers has already become popular. According to a recent study by Strategy Analytics, more than one third of mobile users under the age of 24 years in France have installed ad-blockers on their mobile handsets. This is worrying to brands and publishers,” said Wei Shi, analyst, wireless media strategies.
Recently mobile operators like Digicel and Three have either commercially launched or trialled services to block mobile advertising at the network level, bringing this topic to light.
As is shown in another recent Strategy Analytics report, ad blocking has become an increasingly common practice on all digital platforms as a result of ad bloat and privacy concerns. Strategy Analytics said mobile operators should leave it to the market to provide the solutions consumers need.
Added Nitesh Patel, director, wireless media strategies: “Mobile operators may argue network level ad-blocking services both protect customers from annoying ads, and enables operators to participate in the mobile advertising value chain. By enabling network level ad-blocking, however, mobile operators are not only alienating the publishing and advertising industries, but also challenging regulators, especially in markets with strict net-neutrality rules.
“Instead, operators should investigate alternative opportunities to add value to the mobile advertising ecosystem,” continued Patel. “For example, they can consider becoming data management platforms (DMPs), like Sprint’s Pinsight Media, or Verizon’s Precision Insights, or playing a role in ad-assurance to help advertisers overcome ad-fraud.”