- New research has found that adoption of ad blocking technology is most common among people under 35 and those who read the news the most, according to the 2016 Reuters Digital News report. The research is based on surveys of more than 50,000 online news consumers across 26 countries.
- The survey found that mobile ad blocking only had 8% penetration, but worryingly for the online ad industry, a third of respondents reported that they plan on using mobile ad blockers within the next year.
- Ad blocking adoption fluctuated across the globe: Its use is highest in Poland, with 38% of respondents using the software, and lowest in Japan, where only 10% use it. The U.S. fell in the middle of the pack at 24%.
Ad blocking is a significant challenge for the online advertising industry with reports finding that it has already cost billions of dollars in lost ad revenues, and forecasts saying that it could cost publishers as much as $35 billion by 2020. Industry groups have been addressing the problem in varied ways, with the Interactive Advertising Bureau and the Trustworthy Accountability Group offering the most concrete solutions. One problem for marketers, publishers and ad tech firms is ad block adoption is turning into a battle between the industry and consumers — and right now consumers are winning.
Digiday specifically looked at five countries in the new Reuters report — U.S., U.K., Germany, Japan and Poland — to uncover global trends, finding that the 18-24 age group led usage of ad blockers in all five, in some cases by a significant margin. Although ads that follow people across the internet was a major reason cited for using ad block software, the sheer volume of ads was the top reason given in all five countries. In terms of gender, males outpaced females in ad block adoption in all five countries.
"We see the growth of ad blocking is a clear message from consumers to advertisers and publishers that they are frustrated with ads and slow loading web pages," Jerrid Grimm, co-founder of content marketing firm Pressboard, recently told Marketing Dive. "Whether you look at Uber, Airbnb, TiVo (DVR’s), Netflix, or music streaming ... consumer demand always prevails over entrenchment of the establishment. Why would we expect ad blocking to be any different? If this becomes a technological arms race, we’re putting our bet on the consumer winning the war."