Adblock Plus outsmarts Facebook... again
- Adblock Plus software has been successfully filtering out sponsored posts on Facebook's News Feeds as well as video ads on its new Watch tab on desktop, according to a report in Ad Age.
- The software firm first cracked the Facebook ad code last August but has since been in what Ad Age described as a retreat — one that's lasted almost a year. However, the latest version of its ad-blocking software has been successfully cutting out ads on Facebook since late September.
- Last year, Adblock Plus and Facebook played a bit of a cat-and-mouse game, with the former's ad-blocking software typically only working for a few days before Facebook engineers could counter it. Adblock Plus never stopped trying to solve the Facebook riddle, Ben Williams, communications manager at Eyeo, its parent company, told Ad Age, stating the goal was to make its software robust enough that it wouldn't just be a "flash in the pan."
If Adblock Plus's software can sustainably cut out ads on Facebook, it could become a bigger pain point for the social media company, which greatly relies on ad revenue to support its business. While ad-blocking software has always been an issue for online publishers and platforms, Facebook is currently facing a considerable slowdown in ad load growth on News Feed, and is now turning to initiatives like Watch to sustain expansion.
Ad blockers making an impact on Watch this early — the feature only rolled out in August — could potentially hamper its early success and turn off brands that are eyeing it as an alternative to YouTube and also TV. One upside for Facebook is that ad-blocking software appears to only be seriously affecting ads on desktop and not mobile devices. Desktop ads made up only 13% of Facebook's Q2 ad revenue, down from 15% in Q1 this year.
But, as Ad Age reported, that still represents around $2.5 billion in ad revenue during the first half of this year. In the U.S., 26% of consumers now use ad-blocking software, a 16% increase from 2016, according to a recent study from OnAudience.com.