In this article for tech site Techcrunch.com, contributor and digital technician Vinay Kumar Mysore says more and more people are using ad blockers and more and more publishers are using tech to stop them. It’s time we all found a happy medium…
I am now part of the problem. The advertising industry is wringing its hands and shaking its fist at the use and growth of ad-block technology, but I am not above temptation. I simply installed it. And much like the many million people who have done so already, I love it and probably won’t ever fully abandon it.
So instead of excoriating people for using them, it’s time we reflect on how we got here, what its inevitability means for our future and whether this might even be a trend worth embracing.
The most commonly cited statistic on ad blocking reports that roughly 200 million people worldwide installed ad blocking on their computers as of August 2015. That group is rapidly growing:
- Mary Meeker’s 2016 Internet Trends Report shows an upward accelerating trend in ad-block adoption across desktop and mobile worldwide.
- HubSpot’s Global Interruptive Ads Survey (Q4 2015 to Q1 2016) found 50 percent of respondents already had installed AdBlock, and more than 60 percent of adults 18-35 expect to by Q3 2016, with respondents 35+ not that far behind.
- PageFair and Adobe report a growth of almost 50 percent in the usage of ad blockers in the U.S. from Q2 2014-Q2 2015.
- The recent IAB report on ad blocking found 26 percent of desktop users block ads online.
Cumulatively, these reports indicate that the number of individuals using ad blockers will have doubled many more times over within the coming year or two. And their impact is real. Ovum and The Wall Street Journal report that in 2015 alone, publishers lost $24 billion dollars in ad revenue because of ad blockers.
Ad-block technology stops almost all ads a person might otherwise see. Search ads, banner ads, remarketing, pre-roll, YouTube ads, social posts and even some “native” ads are all covered. When loading a page, AdBlock looks at from where content is being called and uses that information to infer what is or is not an ad. On computers, AdBlock typically comes as a plugin to install in a browser. On mobile, it takes the form of browsers or browser settings that do the same. It’s easy and relatively tinker-proof. With one or two clicks, an ad-free internet is at the fingertips of anyone.