The Stack Archive

Adblock-blockers ‘ineffective’, adblocking up 30% globally in two years

Wed 1 Feb 2017

A new report on global user trends in adblocking has found that the countermeasures which publishing companies take to block content to adblock users are ‘ineffective’.

The report, by pro-ad organisation PlayFair, found that 74% of users abandon websites when they are presented with an adblock wall, with only 26% following the requirement to disable adblocking in order to gain access to the site.

The findings come in the context of the report’s central conclusion, that adblocking has risen 30% year on year since 2015, and has risen by 40% in the crucial Asia-Pacific market in 2016 alone.

The survey was based on 4000 internet users in the United States, and also leverages statistics on downloads of the EasyList adblock blacklist and user counts from Chrome and Firefox adblock extensions, among other sources.

As of December 2016, the report estimates that 615 million devices around the world are blocking ads, 62% of which are on mobile devices, the biggest area of growth for the adblocking demographic, presumably due to data cap limits which are not usually a consideration in broadband contexts.

It also finds that adblock users are generally smarter than the average internet user, 1.5x more likely to possess a bachelor’s degree, increasing to 3x more likely among 18-24 year olds.

Apparently, Asia has already found its preferred adblocking solutions and providers, while North America and Europe are still divided among a number of adblocking services. An astonishing 94% of global mobile adblocking is taking place in Asia, though the report does not specify whether this is likely to be at the network service level; adblocking is increasingly ‘rolled in’ to traditional connectivity deals, and some VPN providers, such as TorGuard, take a ‘fluoridation’ approach and bundle it into their own connectivity services unasked.

India alone has risen from 32% adblocking use to 59% in 24 months up to December 2016, with 136 million users taking advantage of adblock software. China is in second place, with 106 million adblocked devices, but a much lower percentual take-up per capita.

Playfair proposes that the rise of mobile adblocking is partly due to partnerships between adblocking software makers and hardware manufacturers, and that new network and manufacturing deals to pre-configure adblocking software could lead to even sharper rises in adblocking across the board in the near future.

The key reason for the growth of adblocking, besides the principal concern about virus infection, is cited as ‘interruptive’ ad formats, such as interstitial ads which hijack the process of heading to a URL and may require ad hoc or timed dwelling before the content can be reached.

Other key factors include slow page loading time, excessive ads per page and privacy tracking.

The report repeats calls from the German AdBlock plugin/extension creators, and its own oft-repeated motif, for the ad industry to reform, claiming that 77% of users find some form of advertising permissible, with 52% preferring static banner ads and 35% preferring skippable video ads. The most hated ad format is apparently the non-skippable video ad, followed by autoplaying audio ads.

Also see: Sites that block adblockers seem to be suffering


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