Adblockers on mobile devices present growing threat to mobile advertising industry

Anne Freier

In Mobile Advertising

February 2, 2017


Source PageFair

Adblocking is now at a tipping point between desktop and mobile. According to the latest PageFair 2017 Adblock Report, global ad blocking software installations grew from 142m in 2015 to a whopping 615m devices by 2016. Whilst previously deemed as ‘safe ground’ for advertisers, mobile adblock usage shot up to reach 380m active devices globally.
Mobile adblockers surged in Asia Pacific by 40% during the last year. However, the report cautions that there isn’t one single solution that has become the dominant ad blocker in the US or Europe just yet.
Ad blockers used on desktops aren’t necessarily being employed across smartphones. The adblock software maker that eventually will gain traction in the West is likely to tap into a huge desktop adblocking audience.
For now, mobile adblocking is more dominant in Asia Pacific with 94% of global penetration, whilst North America and Europe are sharing 68% of desktop adblock usage.
In India, mobile adblockers have latched on fast and are now present across 59% of smartphones in the country.
Telecommunication companies have also become more interested in partnering up with adblock software makers to regain some of their lost revenues from WiFi and messaging services. By restricting advertiser access to devices, they can selectively allow deals with marketers to implement certain advertising features.
PageFair says that the majority of adblock adoption will happen organically.
Taking a closer look at the demographics of users, the report found that 34% of men were more likely than women to use adblocks on desktops.
Interestingly, the path to adblockers is diverse. 37% of respondents said they had learned about a software from a friend or colleague, whilst 28% had seen it on the news.
Motivations for using adblockers are diverse and range from malware to privacy concerns. 38% more women than men were concerned about the security of their devices, whilst 14% more men didn’t want to be interrupted.
Over 70% of users chose more than a single reason to employ adblockers.
However, publishers have begun to employ adblock walls in order to force users to turn off their adblockers. 90% of respondents said they had previously come across an adblock wall. 74% said they left a website when they came across a wall, whilst older Internet users and men in particular were more likely to disable their adblockers to access the content.
Not all is lost though. Generally, adblock users tend to prefer some type of advertising over the other. 77% said they found certain advertising formats more permissible. 52% preferred banners whilst 35% appreciated skippable video ads.
The key takeaway for advertisers is that interruptive advertising formats are one of the leading causes for users to become frustrated with adverts.
Sean Blanchfield CEO & Co-founder of PageFair explains:

“We believe that the only solution to adblock is fixing the problems that led people to block ads in the first place. Tamper-proof ad serving technology has matured to the point where publishers can serve ads on the blocked web. This is the precisely what Facebook has done. The platform now attributes significant revenue growth to having taken this step, and we estimate it will net a further three quarters of a billion on the blocked web in 2017. Publishers are now following suit, listening to users’ legitimate grievances, fixing those problems, and then serving ads using tamper-proof technology. This in turn is creating an opportunity for brands to reach the blocked web, which is an entirely uncluttered space, free from fraud.”