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Ad blocking is a major talking point at the moment.

Apple’s recent allowance of ad blockers into its app store and a freshly updated version of the popular Adblock service which allows ‘Acceptable Ads’ have kept the subject in the limelight.

It is a hot topic among analysts and statisticians too, with a wealth of trends being published over the last few months highlighting just how fast the ad block market is growing, why they are increasing in popularity and what the implications might be economically.

I thought I’d use this post today to pick out some key data points which have been shared recently and which we have included in the latest update to our Internet Statistics Compendium.

Ad blocking is growing globally

The latest data published by PageFair really puts into perspective just how fast the ad blocking market is growing, with the global use of ad blockers being up 41% (to 198m) between Q2 2014 and Q2 2015.

GlobalWebIndex has also drilled down into regional and demographic variations, finding that Europe leads in ad block penetration at 30% and males aged 16-24 are the most likely demographic to use such tools.

Adblock Plus leads the charge, but is not the only name in ad blocking

Analysing the ad blocker market can be a little confusing.

According to Sourcepoint, Adblock Plus dominates with 51% of global share, but this program shouldn’t be confused with the separate AdBlock which itself covers 38% of the market.

In addition to these comparatively well-known names, Sourcepoint also analysed emerging ad blockers.

UBlock Origin leads the pack for growth over the last 10 months, at a rate of 833%.

Why people block ads

The IAB has also been looking at data concerning ad blocking and specifically why more and more people are using such services.

The leading reason cited by UK consumers is that ads are ‘interruptive’ – 73% of people using ad blockers use them for this reason.

Further reasons include that ads ‘can be annoying’ and that they ‘slow down web browsing’.

In the US, PageFair found that consumers are more likely to block ads with concerns that they are using their personal data or that they are simply becoming too frequent.

What are the implications?

PageFair’s research also looked at what the cost to the economy might be as ad blocking becomes more abundant among internet users.

The global data predicts that in 2015 as much as $21.8bn will be lost in online ad revenue due to ad blockers – and this is expected to increase to $41.4bn in 2016.

This is understandably a worry to those hitherto reliant on online ads for promotion and revenue, as well as being something of a critical moment for online marketers to ensure that the ads they are investing in are not falling into the interruptive, annoying, too-frequent etc. categories which are frustrating web users.

Luckily, with the right strategy and good awareness of the alternatives such as native advertising (see Jack Simpson’s great recent native ad post here), well-targeted ads and giving consumers other options to pay for content, help is at hand in the era of ad blocking – even if it doesn’t look like blockers are a passing fad.

For more internet statistics from across the global digital landscape, see our latest Internet Statistics Compendium.

Luke Richards

Published 27 October, 2015 by Luke Richards

Luke Richards is a freelance writer and a guest blogger on Econsultancy. You can follow him on Twitter or check out his blog

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