This move is particularly important in the local context, given that Australians and New Zealanders are among the world's biggest users of Apple products, with 30 percent of all mobile and desktop internet use being served through the browser.
Through the new AdRoll product, users will be given the choice of whether to opt in to retargeting ads through the service.
Site visitors who do not have an AdRoll cookie will see a one-time informational banner informing them that to receive a tailored ad experience, they will need to agree to accept third party cookies from AdRoll (they can also decline by clicking the opt-out link in the floating banner).
Sharp says 99 percent of users opted in during the beta phase, leading to a 130 percent increase in retargeting reach for advertisers.
However, the recent announcement that Apple would be giving users easier access to ad blocking software through its iOS9 update—especially when viewed alongside the fact that the opt-in banner will be served to users through the AdRoll ad interface—makes it questionable whether or not AdRoll's new product will be effective.
So, to find out more, StopPress asked Sharp a few questions.
StopPress: Has retargeting previously not been available on Safari?
Sharp: Safari blocks third-party cookies by default. This means that unless a Safari user has manually adjusted their browser cookie settings, advertisers are unable to retarget them. AdRoll Retargeting on Safari allows users to opt in to receive third-party cookies for a more tailored ad experience.
StopPress: How did this come about? Has it been a long time in the making?
Sharp: We developed this product independently and started testing this particular solution in Q2 2015 in order to give our customers the widest reach possible. Allowing our customers to reach their customers where they spend their time online is a huge priority for AdRoll.
StopPress: With Apple making ad blockers freely available, isn't this move somewhat counter-intuitive?
Sharp: Ad blocking and third-party cookie blocking are not the same. Ad blocking prevents ads from being shown to users generally while third-party cookie blocking prevents advertisers from assigning cookies to web users.
AdRoll is committed to increasing our footprint across both ad and native inventory (ie: recent Instagram announcement). However, we are conscious about spending our customers budgets wisely and don’t want to waste resources on customers that are not likely to convert. Users on ad blocking software have indicated that they do not want to be targeted by traditional advertising.
Will AdRoll ads get through ad blocking software?
No. But we don’t see this as a disadvantage as we don’t want to waste resources on users who do not want to see ads as they are not likely to convert.
What is AdRoll doing about the rise of Ad Blockers?
The type of customer that uses ad blocking software is not the type that is likely to convert and therefore not worth our customers spending resources on. We would rather help our customers reach users that are likely to convert.
Would AdRoll consider paying an adblocking company to have some of its clients white-listed? (Adblock Plus, for instance, allows for white-listing at a fee).
That is not something we’ve considered.