Geek

Ad Blocking Grew 41% in 2015, Poses Threat to Quality Content

By February 9, 2016Geek
Having it all seems great, but quality content comes at a price. What’s the risk to online content with ad blockers in the mix?

Consumers may be unintentionally putting their favorite websites out of business by installing ad blockers on their computers, iPhones and tablets.And it matters to content marketers, too. Native ads and sponsored content can be just as susceptible to extensions like AdBlock as display ads are. A 2015 report by Adobe and PageFair estimates that $21.8 billion in ads were blocked last year.

According to that report, 45 million U.S. Internet users have installed ad blockers. That number may be even higher, according to a Reuters Institute Digital New Survey, which reports 47 percent of U.S. Internet users have installed ad blockers. That statistic jumps to 55 percent for 18-to-24-year-olds.

Ad blocker users may not realize they are disrupting the revenue model of online publishers. They may also be missing out on on-page content if their ad block filters aren’t fine-tuned. If an ad isn’t served on a website, the publisher loses revenue. Ads help publishers to fund the free services and content on their websites. Yet, 80 percent of Internet users polled by Adobe reported they weren’t willing to pay even a small subscription fee to eliminate online ads.GEEK_AdBlockers

Ad blockers were once limited to desktop web browsers. That changed in September 2015 when Apple introduced its iOS9 operating system, which supports ad blockers, making it possible for iPhone users to block ads on Safari and other apps that open web links.

Publishers are working with the software company SourcePoint to educate online readers about the drawbacks of using ad blockers by showing users this message: “One of the consequences of using ad blocking software is that it significantly damages the value exchange between consumers and creators of digital content.” The message offers users a link that will allow them to disable their ad blocker for that particular site. Navigating to certain pages Forbes.com, for example, generates an interstitial that requires you to suspend your ad blocker.

The numbers:

  • $21.8 billion: Amount that ad blocking was estimated to cost publishers in 2015.
  • 198 million: The number of active ad block users around the globe.
  • 41%: The amount ad blocking grew globally in the last 12 months.
  • 48%: The amount U.S. ad blocking grew to reach 45 million active users in 12 months.
  • 82%: The amount UK ad blocking grew to reach 12 million active users in 12 months.
  • 55%: The percentage of 18- to 24-year-olds in the United States using ad blockers.

Author Lisa Rabasca Roepe

Lisa Rabasca Roepe has been creating content for newspapers, magazines, online outlets, websites and social media for two decades. Her work has appeared in Fast Company, Yahoo, Fast Company, Daily Worth, Men's Journal and many other publications.

More posts by Lisa Rabasca Roepe

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