Are ad blockers slowing down?

Dive Brief:

  • Ad block software adoption has been most prevalent in Europe, but the latest findings from IAB Europe see those numbers stabilizing, according to a report from Digiday.
  • Certain publishers in France like Le Figaro found ad block adoption stagnant at around 20%, though those in the field generally see use sitting at around 30% for web visitors.
  • European publishers told Digiday that ad block adoption has been dropping because of the shift toward mobile, where users are more likely to not have ad block software enabled (for now).

Dive Insight:

While stabilization of ad blocking might sound like good news in general, it could be a temporary dip in the trend as mobile adoption of the software grows. The larger standing issues of ad quality remain, and the rates — while stable — are still far too high, with up to a fifth of website visitors putting a dent in publisher revenues in the best cases.  

Bertrand Gie, the head of new media at Le Figaro, told Digiday that if European mobile users begin adopting ad block tech in greater numbers (which is already occurring elsewhere), it could spell trouble for publishers.

“The problem of ad blocking is still there. But it’s gone from an over-dramatized problem to a professional problem,” he told Digiday. "If [ad blocking] stays on the desktop, it will be fine for us. If it moves to the mobile it will be a very big problem.”

Many in the digital ad industry recognize that the crux of the issue is simply a low quality user experience. Everything from annoying ad formats like interstitials to their often intrusive delivery turns people off. With ad blockers on, publishers bleed ad revenues, firms lose out on serving ads and marketers aren’t able to connect with consumers.

“We are still using a lot of the same formats that were built in 1997,” said Deirdre McGlashan, chief digital officer at MediaCom, during a DMEXCO panel on ad blocking last month. “It is time for us, as an industry, to look at everything and almost start from scratch and redraw it to what is going to be sustainable into the future.”

Filed Under: Trends
Top image credit: Getty Images