- The Wall Street Journal reports ad blocking appears to be on the decline in Germany, a sign that use of the technology may also slow in the U.S. soon.
- The Journal points to data from the German digital media trade group Bundesverband Digitale Wirtschaft, which show ads were blocked on 19.1% of German desktop page views for Q3 of 2016. That number is down 21.5% from the year-ago period and makes for the fourth quarter in a row of ad blocking declines.
- Germany is a key market for ad blockers, with 25% of German internet users using the technology in 2015 compared to just 15% in the U.S., according to the tech vendor PageFair. As a result, marketers and executives often see Germany as an indicator of where ad blocking trends will be headed stateside.
Widespread use of ad blocking technology has forced many marketers and publishers to go on the offensive in 2016, leading to the launch of initiatives like the Coalition for Better Ads. These efforts are too nascent to have a huge impact in mitigating the adoption and use of ad blockers, but a more aggressive approach from publishers might be convincing some users to turn the software off in the meantime.
The Journal points to the German publisher Bild, which has started to completely stonewall any visitors enabling the technology. Stateside publishers like Business Insider and, most recently of note, The Atlantic have adopted similarly tough stances, with the latter forcing users to either whitelist its site or pony up for a subscription.
One caveat to the Bundersverband data is that it appears to focus on desktop webpage views when mobile is really the area where marketers and publishers should be more concerned in reference to ad blockers, as users are spending more time than ever consuming content on devices like smartphones. Adoption of mobile ad blocking is a more recent phenomenon than on desktop, but shows signs of being on the rise, and, as desktop has proven, it can be incredibly hard to get users to switch ads back on once they’ve become used to an ad-free experience.
"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,” Bertrand Gie, the head of new media at Le Figaro, told Digiday in October.