Facebook recently announced that it will be blocking ad blockers on desktop. This move has advertisers and privacy advocates buzzing, and has reignited the heated debate around ad blocking that’s been raging since autumn when Apple introduced mobile ad blockers.
Facebook has become an advertising tour-de-force, and has a lot at stake here with thousands of advertisers flocking to its platform to promote their brands to Facebook’s 1.7 million users. By preventing ad blocking on desktop, Facebook protects its advertisers by ensuring their ads are seen, and ultimately, protects its bottom line.
Facebook Ad Blocking currently only affects desktop, but this doesn’t preclude the social platform from moving to mobile in the near future. According to a recent article in The New Yorker, Facebook may also be looking at Apple’s closed eco-system as one they’d likely adopt. Apple’s mobile platform is not built on web-based sites but on closed system apps. Apple’s mobile blockers only block web-based ads, but cannot block any ads served within an app. By doing this, Apple is trying to push advertisers towards the safety of its unblockable closed-app platform, and away from blockable web-based advertising. Facebook hopes to achieve similar results by making its platform unblockable. This offers advertisers some assurance than their ads will be served and seen on Facebook’s platform.
Facebook Ad blocking was officially released across desktop on August 9th, 2016.
What Does This Mean for Advertisers?
This is an advancement that will make advertisers rejoice. Facebook is offering a safe space where advertising is protected and will continue to reach the user. Advertisers don’t have the same worry they do with other advertising channels about their ability to reach their audience with their ads, and the harm it is doing to their bottom line. If you are an advertiser who has seen a decrease in impressions within the last year from programmatic display activity, Facebook desktop is definitely an area to start putting more ad spend.
What Does This Mean for Users?
Ad Block Plus has already discovered a work around, but it looks like it will be only a matter of time before Facebook circumvents it. The ad blocking wars are raging, with each side trying to outwit the other in a race to protect, (in Facebook’s case), advertiser interests, (in Ad Block Plus’ case) and user interests. Once Facebook finds the next solution to working around Ad Block Plus’ current block patch, users will be forced back to manage ads by updating their advertising preferences.