- About 26% of U.S. internet users (or 69.8 million Americans) will use ad blocking software this year, according to a new forecast from eMarketer, a 34% increase over 2015.
- eMarketer projects that number will only increase in 2017, with 32% of U.S. internet users (or 86.6 million people) using ad blocking technology.
- The report found that ad blocking in the U.S. is much more prevalent on desktop and laptop computers than on mobile devices, and that there is also a little overlap in the numbers with some people blocking ads on all devices.
There’s not a lot of light at the end of the tunnel for the digital ad industry in eMarketer’s forecast, and other recent reports on ad blocking aren’t any better. While other reports have found that ad blocking isn’t as common on mobile devices, that number appears to be growing quickly. Millennials also appear to be adopting ad blocking faster than others: The 2016 Reuters Digital News report found that the 18-24 age group is blocked ads at a much higher rate than any other demographic, indicating that the industry is losing the battle against the highly-coveted younger generations.
The industry understands the root cause of ad blocking adoption — a poor user experience — but so far that hasn't translated into any coordinated approach to improving online ads, along with policing ads for fraudulent activity and malware. But it’s not as if industry players such as the IAB, DMA and TAG aren’t taking the issue seriously: Since online advertising is self-regulated (at least for now), there is no group that can truly put any teeth behind slowing the tide of spammy online ads that are creating a poor end user experience and are being served by bad actors in the space.
Echoing the need for a better user experience, eMarketer senior analyst Paul Verna said in a statement about the findings: “The best way for the industry to tackle this problem is to deliver compelling ad experiences that consumers won’t want to block.”