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The Advertiser’s Guide to Ad Blocking

Phillip Reinhardt

Ad blocking is a topic that’s been popping up quite a bit lately. The use of ad blocking applications recently made its way from desktop to mobile, first on Android devices and more recently in Apple’s iOS 9 release. While the sky isn’t falling on the digital marketing industry, it can’t hurt to familiarize yourself with the most current trends and predictions in ad blocking to help your brand’s campaign strategies adapt. In case you were wondering, the following data is sourced from the 2015 Ad Blocking Report published by Adobe and PageFair.
It is what it is
Ad blocking software acts like a firewall between the browsing application and all known ad servers. Currently, the end user has to download the software whether it is a browser extension or a mobile application; ad blocking is not currently a default setting of browsers. The two most popular ad blockextensions are called, “Adblock Plus” and “AdBlock”, both of which automatically block ads in almost all formats, including popups and banner ads.
Home and Abroad
Globally, 198 million active users took advantage of browser extensions that block ads, a 41% growth from 2014. The United States saw a 48% spike in the past year, increasing to 45 million adblocking users in 2015. Oregon has the highest rate of utilization at 16.4% while Washington DC has the lowest at 8.2%.
Across the pond, Europe saw a 35% increase in use, totaling 77 million active users. Greece has the highest rate of ad block usage at a whopping 36.7% of the internet-using population.
Money, Money, Money
While 198 million monthly active users may seem significant (and it is), however, this equals only 6% of the global internet population. This small group is estimated to create a loss of about $21 billion this year and over $41 billion by 2016.
Know Your Audience
According to the report, ad blocking is dependent on demographic composition. For example, websites for young, tech-savvy, or more male audiences are significantly worse affected. Visitors to health, charity, and government/legal websites were the least likely to block advertising, which may explain why Washington DC has a low rate of use.
I’ll Take Mine to Go
You don’t need a doctorate to know that mobile computing is engrained in our daily lives. Android users have been able to configure ad blocking with Firefox and Chrome applications for a while now, but with Apple supporting ad block apps in iOS 9 for mobile Safari which accounts for 14% of total web browsing activity, we can only assume more users will adopt some sort of ad blocker.
Forward March
Things are not all doom and gloom for your advertising budget, even if it seems that way after reading the points above. One very simple solution to getting your digital marketing content in front of people is to diversify your strategies. Remember that e-mail marketing is still alive and well and people can’t block your published content from their social media feeds. So maybe instead of a detriment to an entire industry, ad blocking is an opportunity to innovate and adapt to the quickly changing landscape of digital content and marketing.

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