Report: Ad Blocking Plugins Cost Advertisers $21.8 Billion This Year

By Kimberlee Morrison Comment


The internet is seemingly saturated with advertising. There are pre-roll video ads before movie trailers, “One weird trick” ads next to an article, or native ads in our social feeds form of sponsored content. As advertising continues to increase, so does the prevalence of ad blocking extensions and programs, according to new data from Adobe and Pagefair.

Since the advent of ad blocking plugins, they have become very popular among users who feel overwhelmed with advertising. For example, YouTube’s pre-roll ads have caused spikes in use, and 40 percent of Twitter’s users base prefers to silence ads. Now with Adobe’s data we’re able to see the impacts to the ad industry, and the overall reach of ad blockers.

Between Q2 2014 and Q2 2015 ad blocking grew 41 percent, and so far this year ad blocking has cost the ad industry $21.8 billion. Additionally, 16 percent of all U.S. users are using ad blockers, and ad blocking extension use worldwide has almost quadrupled since January 2013 to 198 million users.

Other countries in Europe, like Greece and Poland, see even higher rates of use. 36.7 and 34.9 percent of the internet using population in those countries, respectively, is availing of ad blocking technology.

This ad blocking is having disproportionate effects on the ad market. Worldwide, only six percent of internet users are blocking ads, but they are managing to block the equivalent of 14 percent of global ad spending. Gaming, social networking, and tech/internet sites see much higher percentages of users with ad blockers, indicating those in the young/male/tech savvy demographics are generally more likely to block ads.

Currently only two percent of ad blocking-technology enabled browsers are on mobile devices, but the mobile revolution will likely result in a spike in ad blocking. Safari and Firefox already provide ad blocking tools, and the technology is coming to iOS9, so that spike may not be far away.

Among users who don’t currently use ad blocking technology, the main issue that would drive them to seek it out was a perceived misuse of personal information. An increase in advertisements was the second largest concern, and only 11 percent said they would never consider using an ad blocker.

Advertisers need to take heed of the growing use of ad blockers, and ideally they should take steps to provide advertising that users are willing to live with. Campbell Foster, director of product marketing at Adobe, concluded the research:

Our goal with this research is to shed light on the effects of ad blocking so the industry can develop better solutions for content publishers, advertisers and consumers alike. In so doing, we hope we can do our part to make consumption of digital content on any screen a little bit cleaner, friendlier, and more enlightening. We hope you’ll help.

Readers: Do you use an ad blocker?

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.