How Effective is Ad Blocking Software?

Statistics show that ad blocking software isn’t being used on smartphones as much as on desktops

Ad blocking software has become a challenge for publishers and digital properties using it for marketing purposes. However, it seems that the tides of the ad blocking wave may be changing in favor of marketers. Or, in the very least, we may be amongst a lessening of ad blocker use by consumers.

eMarketer reported on the usage of ad blockers by consumers in a recent article. “AudienceProject, who used a tracking pixel as part of the survey, detected that 26% of respondents in the UK and 23% in the US used an ad blocker on their desktops. Only 2% of respondents in both countries were detected using ad blocking tools on their smartphones.”

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The article continues with its own insight. “While eMarketer’s most recent estimates also show a gap between desktop and smartphone ad blocking, the difference is not as stark: This year, eMarketer estimates that 23% of internet users are desktop ad blockers, compared with 7.8% for smartphones.”

Where is the future of ad blocking going? Will there be an increase of consumers using ad blocking software, or have we seen the most that we can expect? Based on some data coming from Germany, some believe we have reached the peak.

According to Media Life Magazine, “The latest research from Bundesverband Digitale Wirtschaft, a digital media trade group, suggests ad blockers in Germany have peaked. Every quarter, BDW measures the percentage of ads blocked on desktop. In third quarter, blockers shot down 19.1 percent of ads, down by nearly two percentage points versus second quarter and the fourth straight quarter that number has dropped.”

As the article describes Germany itself as, “an extremely tech-savvy market that tends to set trends rather than follow them. What happens in Germany often happens, later, in the United States.”

Another article from Business Insider speaks more about the importance of the German technology market in relation to ad blocking software use. “The German market has a high rate of ad blocking compared to other countries. Data from PageFair, a company that helps publishers mitigate the impact of ad blocking, suggests 27% of internet users in Germany have installed an ad blocker — far higher than the 18% of internet users that have done so in US and the 17% of internet users with ad blockers installed in the UK.”

As we see courts uphold the rights of citizens to block ads, we’re also simultaneously seeing a decrease in usage with this software. And it seems that the smartphone market may never fully see the extent of ad blocking that desktops experience.

However, this eMarketer article isn’t convinced of the decline yet, because consumers are also using this software to limit ad tracking. According to eMarketer, 20% of iOS devices in the U.S. are blocking ad tracking. And more importantly, “eMarketer expects ad blocking to expand by double digits this year. Almost 70 million will use ad blockers this year, an increase of 34.4% over 2015.”


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