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.


German Court Clears Adblock Plus of Extortion Charge

The makers of Adblock Plus, Eyeo GmbH, yesterday celebrated a victory in court after a four-month-long trial in which they were accused of “highway robbery” and anti-competitive conduct. PageFair data has repeatedly confirmed that adblocking is becoming a growing problem for publishers and advertisers alike, so this could be a landmark decision that reverberates throughout the Internet for years to come and leads to the widespread extinction of content producers who refuse to do business with Adblock Plus to bypass their adblocking filters.

The case revolved around the Adblock Plus concept of blocking all advertising by default, the unblocking of some advertisers on an individual basis, and, in some cases, the payment of a fee.

Hurting the Ones You Love

Hurting the Ones You Love

Most adblock users install an adblocker to get rid of irritating ads, such as popups or unskippable pre-roll ads, maybe thinking that it’s their own silent protest against bad advertising.

Hurts publishers, not advertisers

But the sad, ironic truth about adblocking is that it actually hurts the very websites that adblock users love, while being effectively invisible to advertisers.

Regular users vs. adblock users

When a regular user with no adblocker installed visits a website (see graphic – left-hand-side), ads are placed on pages directly from the ad server. The user sees the ad and might even click on it.

Internet Radio - Golden Age of Opportunity

Internet Radio – Golden Age of Opportunity?

David Porter, founder of 8tracks, recently argued on Forbes that “internet radio is the biggest advertising opportunity of the future“:

Internet radio has the potential to be the most ubiquitous form of media ever. More commanding of your attention than film, television, or books.

The numbers he quotes certainly back up this optimistic claim:

In 2014, one third of Americans used their phones to stream music. Young adults (18-24) listened to internet radio more than terrestrial. Two of the top five most popular apps in America (Pandora and Youtube) are used for streaming music. With Americans now spending more time on their phones than watching television, there has never been a more opportune time to maximize internet radio experiences.

Tyranny of the Default

The Tyranny of the Default

Modern life is complicated enough without having to think about every decision or tweak every setting. Most of the time it’s easier to rely on the default option. Decisions cost time, while defaults move things along, removing the speed bumps from existence. Defaults make it possible for us to interact with complexity and cope with an excess of choice, but can be deceptively powerful, influencing decisions that are effectively invisible to the person supposedly making the decision.

Many psychological studies have shown that the tiny bit of extra effort needed to alter a default is enough to dissuade most people from bothering, so they stick to the default.


Axel Springer Faces Down Adblock Plus in Court

Last month we covered the unfolding legal attacks against Adblock Plus, which began in December with two hearings in Munich, Germany.  On Tuesday, March 10th the European media giant Axel Springer presented its case against Eyeo GmbH (the company behind the immensely popular free adblock plugin, Adblock Plus) in a short court hearing in Cologne, Germany.

Although it was just an initial hearing, there were clear similarities with the previous cases in December.  An initial attempt to target adblocking per-se failed to get traction, but was swiftly followed by a more fruitful attack on Adblock Plus’ primary business model.  Axel Springer first sought a court-ordered ban on Adblock Plus, but the court gave a preliminary opinion that banning any software in this way would not be possible.  


Adblocking goes to Court

In 2014 the publishers of Europe began mobilizing for war against Eyeo GmbH, the small company that operates Adblock Plus, the most popular browser plugin on the planet. Since the PageFair mission is to defend publishers from the phenomenal rise of adblocking, we’ve been monitoring events closely. There’s been a major lack of coverage of these developments in English, so we thought we’d try to fill in the gaps.

Our own business model gives us an interest in this debate, and to be honest we can see the validity in both sides of this controversy.  We’re pro-publisher and know from personal experience that being a publisher is expensive, and selling advertising is the only practical way to stay in business. 

Bloody hand

Is Adblocking Going Mobile?

We often consult with publishers and industry groups about the major trends in adblocking, and one of the top three questions we get asked is “what about mobile”? Adblocking is a hit with millennials on desktop, but on mobile it could offer more economical use of the screen, data plan and battery. If a tiny fraction of the desktop users of adblock found a way to use it on their phones, it could go viral. Until recently there was no such sign of a mobile adblock apocalypse, as our reports have made clear. The walled gardens  of Android had effectively fenced out adblocking apps that were effective against both in-browser and in-app ads.


2014 Report – Adblocking Goes Mainstream

We are proud to announce our 2014 report on adblocking in partnership with Adobe (press release here). This report reveals for the first time the actual facts concerning the size and growth of adblocking, including an analysis of the demographics of adblockers and a survey of adblock user attitudes in the United States. It has taken a mammoth effort from team members at PageFair and Adobe to compile, analyse and present this data. We believe that we have uncovered a major threat to the digital media industry, and hope that this report will help mobilise advertisers, publishers, and technology providers to form an appropriate and constructive response.

Past Present Future

The Rise of Adblocking – One Year Later

About one year ago we published our first report on adblocking – “The Rise of Adblocking” – with some terrific initial coverage by Kashmir Hill at Forbes. Next week we’ll publish our second annual adblocking report, and we thought it would be interesting to reflect on how our 12 month old predictions have panned out.

In our new report we’ll be revealing some data that, quite frankly, took us by surprise. We based our 2013 report on our own data from hundreds of websites using PageFair Analytics to measure adblocking, and found 22.3% of their page views were from adblock users.