An Israeli company is killing ‘irritating’ mobile ads, one country after the other

Mobile advertising can be very irritating, especially when some ads pop up at frequent intervals while you read a long interesting article. There are also the creepy ad technologies that make you feel like you are being followed as a pair of shoes you once checked on Konga appears on every web page you visit. Pages with such ads load slowly or even time out if you are on a slow connection, eating up your data as it loads. But you never asked for any of the troubles, hence the sweet relief when you started using an ad blocker. An Isreali company wants to help you get rid of these annoying ads for good.

Protecting consumers

Shine, the Israeli start-up whose mission is to protect consumers from AdTech, works with telecommunications companies to roll-out Ad Blocking and Privacy Protection services. With Shine deployed, mobile network operators and fixed-line operators can both protect subscribers and their infrastructure investments from AdTech, blocking ads in apps and on websites. Already, it has found its way into Europe with Three UK and Three Italy planning to implement Shine’s ad blocking technologies in their networks to enable a rapid roll-out of the technology to all other Three Group operators reaching its 30 million-strong subscriber network.

According to the telco, network-based ad-blocking is a more powerful and effective solution for customers than application-based technologies as it reaches a broader range of mobile advertising.

“Irrelevant and excessive mobile ads annoy customers and affect their overall network experience. We don’t believe customers should have to pay for data usage driven by mobile ads. The industry has to work together to give customers mobile ads they want and benefit from,” said Tom Malleschitz, Chief Marketing Officer, Three UK in a statement.

The advertising and publishing industries have identified ad blocking as the number one enemy, fighting the technology with every weapon in their arsenal, including using companies like PageFair, an Ireland-based startup that helps companies combat ad-blockers. But to Shine, the ad blocking debate is over, as it would always be ready for ad tech’s every move.

content marketing
Flickr/Ged Carroll

The Isreali company passed a damning verdict on digital advertising, saying it will go by the wayside. But what will be the fate of publishers offering free content subsidized by these ads?

“Publishers will be affected especially if banner ads are a key source of revenue,” says Abasiama Idaresit, chief executive of Digital Marketing Agency, Wild Fusion in Africa. “Less vulnerable will be publishers who offer native advertising opportunities, content marketing opportunities tailored for their site visitors.​”

Content marketing

Every trend watcher in the digital publishing space must have seen the death of banner ads coming. A lot of publishers have not been able to make meaningful money from online ads, which most readers have learnt to ignore when they do not use ad blockers. In a situation where ads become too much and to annoying, readers stop visiting such sites. With plagiarism widespread on the internet, there is a limit to ‘exclusivity’ of content. Therefore, a site with too many annoying ads may be losing traffic to competitors with similar (sometimes, even the same) content.

But like Abasiama Idaresit rightly noted, “publishers who offer […] content marketing opportunities tailored for their site visitors” will be able to survive the attack on ad tech.

It might have taken a long period before we all noticed but apparently, we’ve been doing advertising the wrong way. “Advertising should be consumer centric i.e. valuable to the consumer,​ this obviously will make the content shareable by the user and in turn earned media for the advertiser,” Abasiama notes.

With the barrage of attacks being suffered by Ad tech at the moment, digital marketing agencies will be forced to be more creative in their approach, especially in terms supporting their clients through their marketing campaigns.

content marketing

“Content marketing that is native or perceived as valuable organic content by users will obviously ​be the way to go,” adds the Wild Fusion boss, who has been leading content marketing efforts across Africa.

“We must always remember ad blocking technology exist because consumers feel adverts are not relevant to their online experience.”

While the death of banner ads in Africa may not be outright, new technologies like the one Shine’s may be adopted by African telcos, especially if advertisers remain insensitive to the needs of their consumers.

“It is very important as an advertiser to start with the needs of the consumer and work back to your digital strategy,” Abasiama advises.

The digital marketing guru sees a bright future for his industry in Africa, but says there has to be investment in technology to target mobile, as Africa is a mobile first continent and digital marketing future in the region will be mobile led.