girl on iphone

The 2015 Ad Blocking Report

We are pleased to publish our 2015 global report on ad blocking, once again in partnership with Adobe.

In this report we drill into geographic detail, providing per-country and per-state information on ad block usage rates, monthly active user counts, as well as estimates of the total cost to publishers in many regions. We find that not only has ad blocking continued its fast growth on desktop, but it has also leaped onto mobile in Asia, and will soon go mobile in the West with the upcoming launch of content blocking on iOS.

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Quick Facts:

  • Ad blocking estimated to cost publishers nearly $22 billion during 2015.
Kids on Tablet

Interview with CEO of SuperAwesome Kids Ad Platform

We recently discussed whether parents should consider adblocking to protect their children from unwanted exposure to advertising. In a follow-up to that piece, we contacted Dylan Collins, CEO of SuperAwesome, to see what approach “the largest kids advertising platform in the world” takes to advertising to such a sensitive market. Earlier this month, SuperAwesome secured investment of $7m in a Series A round and is rapidly growing an impressive global client list.

DB: Are children more vulnerable than adults when it comes to advertising?
DC: Fundamentally the internet is a place built by adults for adults and society/industry is now faced with the fact that not all of it is appropriate for children.


Publishers: Trim the Fat and Save Your Sites

We now access the Internet at an average global speed of 4.5 Mbps, according to a recent Akamai report. Compare this with the days of tweaking and cajoling already lean sites to squeeze through a dial-up connection and it would appear that web designers in 2015 have a much easier time than in the 1990s when it comes to serving content at top speed.

But websites can still seem surprisingly slow, even when accessed on a modern desktop machine connected to a fat pipe delivering them at several times the global average. Switch to a tablet or a smartphone on even 3G and you can end up thinking that web designers have given up on the old Holy Grail of fast-loading pages.

Kids on Tablet

Should Parents Adblock to Protect Kids?

Children seem to have a natural affinity for touch interfaces. Infants learn about the world partly by touching, so it must seem unsurprising but satisfying to them when a device reacts to their touch and plays a video, produces music or provokes a response from a friendly cartoon. It’s no wonder that, for some harried parents, the iPad has quickly become the ‘ultimate babysitter.’

YouTube is an obvious choice for kids. Its infinite range of animated TV shows, slapstick shorts, catchy songs and cute animal videos can keep children from toddlers to teens engaged for hours. The YouTube Kids app was a clear step towards reassuring parents that their little ones would only be exposed to ‘kid-appropriate channels and playlists’.

Winter is Coming

Winter is Coming (Part 2): 9 Ways Users Already Block Your Mobile Ads

Mobile Internet use is growing rapidly and advertisers are increasingly looking to mobile – but the same is true of adblockers.  Advertisers are often unaware of how adblocking is developing on mobile devices, so PageFair has put together a roundup of the ways smartphone and tablet users can avoid seeing your ads.

Custom Browsers

Gone are the days when a user was restricted to surfing the web using a built-in browser.  Android and iOS have made it easier than ever to try out alternatives.

1. UC Browser has been around for longer than most but is still relatively unknown in the West.  

Winter is Coming

Winter is Coming: iOS 9 to Chill Mobile Advertising Industry

They’re gobbling up everything they can learn about you and trying to monetize it. We think that’s wrong.  And it’s not the kind of company that Apple wants to be.  Tim Cook, Apple CEO, 1 June 2015

iOS 9 is due to arrive on iPhones and iPads  in the fall, along with a new version of Safari which will make it easier than ever to block ads.

Adblock Plus is predictably not very happy about the idea of adblocking going native for Safari, arguing that Apple may in fact cripple alternative adblockers, not to mention that the move threatens the Eyeo’s controversial business model.

Larry Page

Google Losing Billions in Adblocking Devil’s Deal

TL;DR: Google minimized the revenue impact of adblocking in last week’s stockholder meeting, but by our calculations the actual costs are staggering. Worse, by being whitelisted under Adblock Plus’s acceptable ads program, Google is probably the primary source of funding for future development of adblocking technology.

Google Acknowledges Adblocking

At the Google 2015 Annual Stockholders Meeting last Wednesday, Larry Page fielded a tricky question that has some alarming implications for the future of the ad-fuelled giant.

During Q&A a stockholder asked whether adblockers are having any effect on advertising, Google’s primary revenue source:

Neatly sidestepping the actual question of the effect of adblocking on his bottom line, Page delivered a mea culpa for advertising in general, saying “the industry needs to get better at producing ads that are less annoying.” Such passive acceptance of the merits of adblocking is in stark contrast with the legal action currently being taken by other companies to combat adblocking.


Second Court Victory for AdBlock Plus

AdBlock Plus is enjoying a run of good luck in the German courts. Just over a month after a successful defense in Hamburg against charges of extortion brought by publishers Die Zeit and Handelsblatt, a Munich court has ruled that Eyeo, the company behind AdBlock Plus, was not in breach of laws on competition, copyright or market dominance.

The latest case had been brought by leading broadcasters RTL and ProSieben. In a statement confirming the decision, the court said that it had determined that AdBlock Plus could not be considered anti-competitive because Internet users were free to choose whether to install the software, leaving sufficient scope for publishers to find an alternative audience for advertising.


Adblock Users Click More Ads

During episode 505 of the Security Now! podcast, Steve Gibson recently described to Leo Laporte how he was exploring the “ethics and morality of adblocking” when he came across a piece from 2010 by Ken Fisher, Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Ars Technica:

…what Ken’s article said that stopped me cold was, well, the article begins, the first line is “Did you know that blocking ads truly hurts the websites you visit? We recently learned that many of our readers did not know this, so I’m going to explain why.” And the short version is that sites are paid for impressions, not only for click-throughs.


Adblocking Makes Video Ads Disappear

We recently posted a diagram explaining how adblocking stops ads from being shown on websites and deprives publishers of potential revenue.

We have since been asked whether adblocking blocks video ads. Online video is currently the fastest-growing advertising category and advertisers consider video ads to be extremely effective. Unfortunately for those advertisers pinning their hopes on video advertising, adblockers are shockingly effective at making video ads disappear.

Adblockers shockingly effective at making video ads disappear.

The diagram below also fully applies to video ads. Video ads are not a new frontier or tricky problem for adblockers.