Ad Block Grows to More People, Regions, Devices

Ad block usage is growing and spreading. As presented in Pagefair’s most recent annual ad blocker report, not only are more people using ad blocking software, but the level of installs continues to rise, particularly in the Asia-Pacific region.

Globally, ad block usage showed a 30% year-on-year growth in 2016. As of December 2016, there were over 615 million global devices blocking ads, of which 62% were on mobile devices.

“Ad block users will continue to employ ad block software as protection against ads that intrude on security, invade privacy, interrupt UX, slow pages, and expend bandwidth,” according to Pagefair CEO Sean Blanchfield.

Slower Mobile Ad Block Growth in the US

In the Asia-Pacific region, mobile ad block usage increased by 40% in 2016 and has a 13% penetration rate of all online users.  

The good news, mobile ad blocking in the US is an exception and remains low, with just 1% of the online population using mobile ad blockers versus 18% using desktop ad blockers.

However, Pagefair predicts mobile ad blocking is ready to expand in the US and may accelerate if manufacturers close deals to pre-configure ad block software.

Based on the study, 74 percent of people will abandon websites that require ad blockers be disabled. Instead, websites need to provide “valued content that cannot be obtained elsewhere.”

Says Blanchfield: “So long as some websites prefer short-term profit to collective sustainability, bad advertising will persist and people will continue to use ad block software.”

Ad blocking Going Mainstream

Educated Americans and younger millennials are becoming increasingly harder to reach with advertising. People in the U.S. with college degrees are 1.5x more likely to have ad blocking software installed, and 18-24 year-olds are 3x more likely than other people in the study.

The more troubling finding is the growth of ad block usage in other demographics. In previous years, ad block usage was significantly higher among young males. In the current study, the survey results indicate that ad block usage has become more mainstream and significantly more women and older generations are using ad blocking compared to previous studies.

Ad Delivery Not Digital Advertising Primary Cause for Frustration

While 30% of users cited security concerns as their leading reasons for ad block usage, 29% of respondents chose interruption, and 16% chose speed as their primary motivation for ad block usage. Pagefair concludes that ad block usage is not a rejection of digital advertising itself, but driven by specific problems with the delivery of online ads such as slow page loading times, too many ads, and ad interruption.

77% of ad blocker users indicated that they found some ad format to be permissible. The preference leaned heavily in favor of non-interruptive ad formats such as skippable video ads over non-skippable and autoplay insertions.

Additional study findings include:

  • 615 million devices now use ad block
  • 11% of the global internet population is blocking ads on the web
  • Mobile ad block usage grew by 108 million to reach 380 million devices
  • Desktop ad block usage grew by 34 million to reach 236 million devices
  • 77% of American ad block users are willing to view some ad formats
  • Ad block usage is now mainstream across all ages.