Ad blocking continues to rise, costing publishers a fortune

13 Aug 2015

Ad blocking will cost websites around the world well over US$21bn this year, with Irish business losing €100m, according to a new report.

Almost 18pc of Irish consumers now actively block ads while browsing the internet, part of a growing global trend that is seeing the public steering clear of intrusive campaigns.

It seems the growth in pop-up, interstitial and video ads is actually having a negative effect in online business as more and more people install software to hide them.

The numbers rising fast, with this year’s figures showing populations in Greece (37.pc) and Poland (35pc) in particular avoiding what ads they can.

The likes of Germany (25pc) and the UK (21pc) are up on the Irish trend, with France (10pc) and Slovenia (9pc) offering the lowest users of ad-blocking software.

It’s the rate of the climb, though, that seems so strange. UK ad-block usage rose 82pc to the current number of 12m people a month, with German usage rising slower, at just 17pc to 18m.

That could mean the ad-block environment is topping out, but that’s not how PageFair and Adobe, the writers of the report, see it.

“Fighting ad blocking is extremely difficult,” said Sean Blanchfield, co-founder of PageFair. “The ad-block community is large, sophisticated and resourceful. Companies who try to play ‘cat and mouse’ against blocked ads quickly lose.

“A deeper problem is that ad blocking is endemic only because online advertising has become so invasive that hundreds of millions of people are willing to take matters into their own hands.”

Chrome and Firefox dominate the market of browsers that allow ad blocking software, making up 95pc of that realm.

What’s a potentially larger problem for those wishing to advertise online – and, more strikingly, those relying on advertising to finance their publication of content online – though, is that the trend is soon to hit mobile.

It has already started in Asia, with ad blocking on iOS soon to interest a growing number of consumers in Europe and the US.

It’s a problem that may seem churlish to the freemium users of today, but it’s a real dilemma for those needing the financial backing that advertising provides.

Publishers are already attempting to negotiate ways around this by requesting their readers turn off ad-block software on their pages.

Perhaps this, coupled with less intrusive formats, is the best way to stop the trend.

Main image via Shutterstock

Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic