Ad blocking has reached a new peak, according to the latest data from Blockthrough and PageFair. In Q4 2019, 764m people used an ad blocker on a desktop or mobile device, double the level registered at the start of 2015.
This means of the 4.1bn global internet population that the ITU estimates for 2019, 18.5% use an ad blocker.
Nearly twice as many people use an ad blocker on their mobile device (527m) than on their desktop PC (236m). Indeed, while mobile ad blocking has grown 70.5% since Q1 2017, desktop users have dropped 16.3% over the same period.
The report notes that while Google Chrome is dominant and deters native ad blocking, competitors like UC Browser and Opera Mini are capturing mobile market share by offering ad blocking as a built-in feature.
Publishers can still generate advertising revenue from these users, though. One-half (49%) of the top 100 US publishers use the independent Acceptable Ads standard to monetise ad blocking users who have opted in. Blockthorugh reports that many top ad blocking extensions and browsers allow this standard.
However, 44% of these publishers had no ad blocking monetisation strategy, despite nearly one-half of Americans saying they used an ad blocker in the last month. Indeed, there is substantial missed income – just eleven publishers in the UK lost $18.4m in revenue as a result of ad blocking in 2018.
Several leading marketers believe the industry will be better off by accepting the reality of ad blocking. As a result, marketers should tackle privacy concerns and make ads less irritating and intrusive. This can help improve consumer engagement with the creative and ultimately the brand.