Since the announcement that Apple would allow ad blocking software on the latest version of its operating system, it’s hard to browse the internet without stumbling across a discussion on this topic.
The debate on how to manage the rise of ad blocking has been fierce so far.
Publishers are worried their industry will fold in on itself as the primary source of income dries up, while ad blocking consumers simply want a better user experience or are ignorant (wilfully or otherwise) about the way ‘free’ content works.
But this post is not about putting my opinion on the matter across.
I just thought it would be interesting to collate some of the most eye-opening ad blocking stats I’ve read so that people can make their own minds up about the significance of these increasingly popular platforms.
And for more on this topic read our posts on how publishers should respond to mobile ad blocking and how the situation is likely to develop in the next few years.
15% of British adults use ad blocking software
Almost one in seven British adults are currently using ad blocking software, according to the Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB) UK Ad Blocking Report conducted by YouGov.
The main reason cited for blocking ads was that people found them interruptive or annoying.
Men and 18-34s most likely to block ads
The IAB report also found that men were twice as likely to block ads as women: 22% of men vs. only 9% of women.
34% of 18-24 year olds say they block ads vs. only 19% for 25-34 year olds.
Regionally, people in Scotland and the north of England (both 19%) are most likely to be blocking ads.
Only half of ad blockers do so to block all ads
Despite these high figures, the IAB report found that only around half (52%) of those who use ad blockers do so to prevent all ads from showing.
12% say they use the software to block certain types of ads, while 11% only use it to block ads from certain websites.
Less than half of British adults aware that ads fund free content
Only 44% of British adults online are aware that most websites are free thanks to advertising revenue, according to the IAB report.
Men (52%) are more likely to be aware of this than women (36%), and 18-24 year olds (59%) more so than people over 55 (36%).
Two thirds (66%) of respondents would still prefer to access free content and have no ads, while just one in five (21%) prefers free content in return for having ads.
Ad blocking estimated to cost publishers nearly $22bn globally in 2015
A joint report by PageFair and Adobe, titled ‘The cost of ad blocking‘, found that the rise of this type of software costs the worldwide publishing industry nearly $22bn every year in lost revenue.
Ad blocking grew by 41% globally in the last 12 months
In terms of ad blocking growth, the same study from PageFair and Adobe found the following:
- UK ad blocking grew by 82% to reach 12m active users in 12 months up to June 2015.
- In Europe it grew by 35%, increasing to 77m monthly active users.
- In the US it grew by 48% increasing to 45m active users.
16% of the US online population blocked ads during Q2 2015
Almost a sixth of all US internet users blocked ads during the second quarter of this year, according to the above study.
63% of US millennials use ad blockers
According to a joint study by Fractl and Moz, almost two thirds of millennials use ad blocking software when browsing the web.
The number dwarfs GlobalWebIndex’s recent claim of 34% for the same issue.
Austria and Hungary the most prolific ad blockers
ClarityRay audited more than 100m impressions across several top-tier publishers in the US and Europe to assess the pervasiveness of ad blocking software.
Key findings include:
- On average, 9.26% of impressions were found to be ad-blocked, with some sites reaching as high as 50%.
- Tech sites average at 17.79%, followed by news (15.58%) and culture (9.94%). Business, real estate and travel sites average lower.
- Ad blocking is higher in the US and EU: top countries are Austria (22.50%), Hungary (21.52%) and Germany (19.44%). Average in the US is 8.72%.
- Blocking rate is found to be highest among Firefox users (17.81%), followed by Safari (11.30%) and Chrome (10.06%). Explorer averages at 3.86%.
- Linux users have a staggering 29.04% blocking rate, compared with 12.95% for Mac users, and 9.25% for Windows users.
- Mobile blocking is gaining popularity: Android shows a 2.24% blocking rate, and iOS 1.33%.
Blocking ads improves mobile site performance
The New York Times recently ran tests on iPhones using three different ad blockers, and reported that for sites containing mobile ads with a lot of data the load times accelerated significantly with ad blockers turned on.
Blocking ads also improves mobile battery life
The same study by The New York Times also found that battery life on the iPhone improved significantly with ad blocking software enabled.
78% of mobile shopping last year took place on iOS devices
You’re probably thinking, ‘How is that an ad blocking stat?’
Well, Firefox and Chrome currently have a 93% share of mobile ad blocking between them, but with the recent news that iOS9 will enable ad blocking software there is every chance that Safari will catch up with them.
Given that the majority of mobile shopping took place on iOS devices last year, this presents a worrying possibility for ecommerce advertisers.
For lots more up-to-date statistics…
Download Econsultancy’s Internet Statistics Compendium, a collection of the most recent statistics and market data publicly available on online marketing, ecommerce, the internet and related digital media.
It’s updated monthly and covers 11 different topics from advertising, content, customer experience, mobile, ecommerce and social.