- 42.7% of internet users worldwide report using an ad blocker. And the technology has expanded beyond the desktop. Ad-blocking software for mobile devices and tablets is now widely available.
- Hootsuite estimates 38.8% of Americans use ad blockers.
- Tablets have the lowest rate of ad blocker usage in the US. 10% of internet users in the US say that they block ads while browsing on a tablet.
- Research conducted by Ovum estimates that ad blocking could cost publishers as much as $78 billion globally in 2020.
Research from AudienceProject suggests the use of adblockers is on the decline. While desktop adblocker usage has soared in recent years, it appears we are now past the peak. In most countries, fewer users are using ad blockers today than in 2016. In the US, for example, 41% of respondents today are using ad blockers, down from 52% in 2016.
Previous research has found that most news readers are not against ads in general, just against bad ad experiences. A survey from Google found that 63% of users chose to install an adblocker because there were too many ads overall, plus too many intrusive ads. Hubspot even found that 68% of adblocking users would be willing to view ads if they aren’t “too annoying”.
But are consumers OK with ads now? Hardly. The better reason is that they are ignoring the ads altogether. Poor creative and visibility are creating more pressure on advertisers to develop better online ads.
Another issue is that some adblockers work too well. My adblocker, for example, will not allow me to click on ad results when I search Google. Online forums are full of people complaining about how their ad blockers don’t do a good job filtering out ads or work too well and filter out content.
Some publishers won’t allow you to read content if you have an adblocker, while others ask you to pay money to subscribe to their websites. The rule of the better the content, the more likely people will subscribe to be forgotten as many publishers continue to lay off reporters and staff.
I really don’t believe that the use of ad blockers is on the decline. Everyone I know and work with uses an adblocker, and even some companies are rolling out corporate adblockers. The challenge for publishers continues to be creating content that people want to read or pay for. The media continues to use “dramatic headlines” to try and entice readers, but most people are aware that the headlines are meant to scare rather than report in reading forums and research.
For the most part, online ad creative continues to stink, and fraud is still rampant, especially in programmatic advertising. Talented marketers know how to use digital to communicate their messages, but for most agencies, it’s just “digital.”