Google Inc had a target placed on its back last week when Apple Inc. said that the iOS 9 will have support for ad blockers on the Safari Broswer. Apple might not be after Google’s ad business but the firm will keep its users loyal and happy if it reduces the volume of ads that they see when they use the native browser on their Apple devices.
It was reported that iOS 9 would allow developers build ad-blocking apps for Safari browsers. However, it seems that the ad-blocking feature was a veiled attempt to cut off Google’s ads because the ad-blockers won’t run on iOS apps and Apple can continue to take its 30% cut of in-app ads. However, the Wall Street Journal reports that analysts don’t see the ad-blocking feature as a threat to Google’s ad business.
Google not threatened by ad-blockers
Ads are the lifeblood of Google’s business. In 2014, the firm recorded $59B as ads revenue up from $3.1B in 2004. Out of that $59B ad income, it made $12B from mobile ads and iOS devices contributed $8.8B while more than $4B came from a deal that Google had with Apple for “default search” on Safari. However, analysts at Barclays believe that the introduction of ad-blockers won’t necessarily kill Google’s ad business.
Barclays analyst Paul Vogel estimates that less than 9% of desktop Internet users use ad-blockers on their browsers. Google has the biggest cut in the desktop browser market as its Chrome browser is used by 56% of desktop users. Microsoft’s Internet Explorer and Apple’s Safari browser both have 17% market share each. With the low adoption (9%) of ad-blockers on desktop browsers, Google is still able to take a sizable chunk of the online ads market.
Will Ad-blockers click with users on mobile?
It is still too early to predict if mobile users (especially on iOS) will use the new ad-blockers to get rid of ads on their browsers. However, Google should be safe if users ignore mobile ad-blockers the same way they ignored desktop ad-blockers.
The fight against ads is real and mobile appears to be the focus. In May, AdBlock Plus (one of the top ad-blocker extensions on desktop) was created in beta release for Android users. Google had once removed AdBlocker Plus from its Play Store in 2013 on the grounds that it was against the firm’s other products (read ads). Google can no longer stop users from having the AdBlocker even if it bars it from its Play Store.
Hence, it appears that mobile ad-blockers will have a field day on the iOS 9. In fact, three ad-blocking apps have soared to the top 20 paid app downloads in the Apple App Store barely 24 hours after the release of iOS 9. Google might be safe at the moment, but it remains to be seen if its safety will continue in the next couple of months.