Facebook's Ad-Blocker Bust Is Much Ado About Nothing

Judging by all the arresting headlines over the past 24 hours, you’d think Facebook’s decision to block the ad-blockers was a big deal. You might even think the Web’s most powerful platform was saving the entire digital ecosystem by standing up to the purveyors of technology that threatens its very existence.

However, you’d be mistaken. Significant only in its symbolism, the change is limited to Facebook’s desktop ad business, which makes up an increasingly insignificant share of profits. 

Indeed, desktop ad revenue represented about 16% of Facebook’s overall ad revenue, last quarter -- down from 24%, year-over-year. And, that share only stands to dwindle.

As such, “None of these efforts will have much of an impact until Facebook extends this to its mobile experience -- where users predominantly access Facebook,” Forrester analyst Jessica Liu told me, yesterday.

As yet, however, the social giant has no plans to block ad-blockers that impact its mobile Web browser -- and the changes don’t affect its mobile apps, which are immune to ad blockers.

Of course, ad blockers represent a real threat to publishers, platforms, and their marketing partners.

Last year alone, more than 198 million consumers around the world were active users of ad blockers, which represented a 41% increase, year-over-year, according to analytics firm PageFair. As such, ad-blocking technology cost publishers nearly $22 billion last year.

But top platforms like Facebook are largely immune to these trends because they can convince users to access their services through secure mobile apps.

Smaller publishers and platforms don’t have that luxury, and, increasingly, their only recourse is to rely on Facebook and other giants to serve their content directly to mobile users.

2 comments about "Facebook's Ad-Blocker Bust Is Much Ado About Nothing ".
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  1. Leonard Zachary from T___n__, August 10, 2016 at 2:42 p.m.

    Factually in the US Facebook users paid over $1 billion for Facebook ad payloads from their mobile data plans assuming 70% was delivered by Wi-Fi and the wholesale rate of $4 per Gig. At $10 per Gig retail, that number goes to the $$$Billions and growing. 

  2. Douglas Ferguson from College of Charleston, August 11, 2016 at 1:36 p.m.

    fbpurity [dot]com has a great Facebook-specific ad blocker that was specially tuned this week to filter the filtering. It's a cat and mouse game.

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