Opera has become the first web browser to include built-in ad blocking for desktops users. Now it remains to be seen how publications responds to such ad-blocked browsing scenario.
Opera Software has announced that it is developing a new version of its Opera web browser for PCs, which will have ad-blocking elements built into it, thereby negating the need to rely on third-party extensions to achieve the same objective.
Opera said the immediate benefits with the new browser would be faster page load times, which could see an improvement to the extent of even 90 percent. Further, with the ad-blocking elements being directly integrated into the browser itself can lead to 40 percent improvement in page load times compared to browsers — like Google Chrome with AdBlock Plus — working with ad-blocker extensions, the Norwegian company further added.
Demand for ad-blocking extensions are ever on the rise as users look for better privacy and security along with faster page loading times. AdBlock, AdMuncher and Ghostery are among the most sought-after ad blocking tools though all of these operate externally to existing browsers.
However, such efforts run the risk of undermining online marketing efforts on the part of publishers and corporate brands. Ad revenue happens to be a big source of their income that enables them to dole out several of their services or publications free of cost. Needless to say, the increasing tendency among online users to block ads can force them to revert to paid subscription models.
PageFair and Adobe have estimated online ad revenue losses due to ad-blockers at $21.8 billion in 2015. The same is slated to go up to $41.4 billion in 2016 even though Ad-placement firm Carat believes the digital and mobile advertising segment to be worth a massive $150 billion in 2016.
Ironically, it is online advertising that makes for a significant contribution to Opera’s own revenue but ruled out its own efforts towards ad-blocking being contradictory.
“Ad-blocking technology is an opportunity and a wake-up call to the advertising industry to pay attention to what consumers are actually saying,” an Opera spokeswoman said.
Opera also said the demand for ad-blocking will diminish once ads become less intrusive, more relevant and target oriented. In addition, the ad blocking technology will later be implemented in the mobile version of its browser as well.
Opera ranks as the fifth most used web browser in the world with 60 million monthly desktop users worldwide. Opera has a more distinct presence in the mobile segment where its user base stands at an impressive 281 million.
Opera is also credited to have pioneered the concept of pop-up blocker earlier, which had soon become one of the most preferred medium for online ad marketing. Among the other browser innovations, Opera had introduced tabbed browsing which has quickly been adopted up by other mainstream browsers later on.
It could only be a matter of time before integrated ad-blocking too is picked up by other browsers and it remains to be seen how that affects the business model of several companies that rely on ad revenue to provide services for free.