What it is: Ad blockers allow you to browse web pages without seeing ads displayed.
Web sites tend to make money through ads. Specifically, most web sites put Google ads on their web pages so if viewers click on an ad, the web site owner gets paid by Google. The purpose of ads for web site operators is to monetize their content. The purpose of ads from Google’s point of view is to reach people through customized ads.
In Apple’s latest version of iOS 9, Apple plans to introduce ad blocking. This will let you browse web sites without seeing their ads. While this may be convenient for users, it could spell a huge revenue drop for web site owners. After all, if they can’t make money though ads, they lose any monetary incentive to create and maintain their web site.
The growing popularity of ad blockers means that web site owners need to find a new way to make money because ad blocking will likely become more popular and prevalent. For many web site operators, that means shifting to a subscription business model where visitors need to pay to view all the content the web site offers. This can actually provide a steadier income, but it also risks driving away people.
Yet this is the future, so if you’re setting up a web site, ask yourself why someone would want to subscribe to it. Then ask yourself how you can tailor your content to match the expectations of as many people as possible. The future revenue from web sites won’t be from ads but from subscriptions, but you have to provide useful content to convince people to subscribe in the first place.
Here’s how future web sites will likely work. First, there will be a free section to entice new visitors to sample your content. Then if visitors like what they see, they can pay a subscription to gain access to the full content of that site. That means web site operators need to publish content regularly and make it useful.
While this may hurt web site operators unable to attract enough subscribers, the growing popularity of ad blockers also threatens to devastate Google’s online ad business, which is the lifeblood of the company. Remember, Google originally began in the PC market, so now the shift to mobile is starting to affect them. If ad blockers become commonplace in other operating systems beyond iOS 9, expect Google’s revenue from ads to fall even further. Ad blocking is just as devastating to Google as the switch to mobile computers form desktop PCs was to Microsoft.
While Google may be hurt by ad blockers, Apple won’t be. That means you can expect Google to start sinking as more web site operators switch from ads to subscriptions as their primary business model. Ad blockers may not take over the Internet overnight, but they’re coming, and that means ad blockers will eventually take over the Internet as well.
Plan for ad blockers to become commonplace and you can adjust now to the inevitable changes. Pretend that ad blockers won’t play a major role in shaping computing for tomorrow and you’re bound to be surprised and caught flat-footed. The future keeps changing and Google will likely bear the brunt of this change from online ads to subscriptions.