Advertising Metrics Skewed By Ad-Blocking Software

Ad-blocking software in browsers might have a much deeper effect on a variety of advertising metrics than the industry first believed, impacting everything from Web page load time speeds to video metrics used to measure success.

When ad-blocking capabilities are turned on in mobile browsers, elements on a Web page take less time to load, meaning that site visitors can begin interacting with the content much faster, according to research from Catchpoint Systems, which monitored major sites across banking, eCommerce, news and travel with and without ad-blocking. 

The data shows that enabling ad-blocking makes Web pages load faster in all instances, with the biggest boost in speed for ad-heavy news sites, where the Web page load time was more than three seconds faster. 



The speed of Web page load times improved for bank sites by 7%; ecommerce, 23%; news, 43%; and travel, 20%, according to Catchpoint findings. The challenge becomes accurately measuring performance, not only of advertisements, but of Web pages, a metric search engines and publishers rely on.

The irony -- Google, Bing and Yahoo advocate faster page load times, especially on desktop. In this case, where Catchpoint only monitored Web page speeds on mobile, a lack of ads clearly contributes to the page's increase in speed.

Another study, from Secret Media and JW Player, finds that some 8.4 million new ad-block users worldwide began using browser-based software to block advertisements from May to June 2015. The data, released Monday, analyzes how ad-blocking affects "time spent" in video advertising, the key performance indicator.

The findings from the study, Adblock and The Global Video Market, analyzed data collected and aggregated from April to June 2015 from about one billion devices in 42 countries, reaching about one-quarter of the world's population that uses the Internet.

In the U.S., 26% of time spent watching video on desktop is unmonetized because of ad-blocking software. In Canada, that percentage jumped to 43%. In Germany, 62% of time spent on desktop video is blocked. Austria followed with 53%; and United Kingdom, 62%.

The study also found that the use of ad-blocking software trends highest in developed countries where advertising budgets are the largest.

10 comments about "Advertising Metrics Skewed By Ad-Blocking Software".
Check to receive email when comments are posted.
  1. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, September 14, 2015 at 4:18 p.m.

    Once the "viewability" issue is addressed and advertisers pay only for "delivered" ad "impressions", not phantom "exposures", it wont matter how many ads are blocked from a 'tonnage" or CPM point of view. It WILL matter when it comes to attaining reach. If the time comes when 30% or 40% of online users---and the best of the lot, demographically-----routinely block ads, then digial will have a real problem attracting branding advertisers looking for a complimentary option for their TV campaigns.

    The common retort to my point about ad blocking and reach, above, is that Netflix, et al function as de facto "ad blockers" for TV....but that's not exactly true. We recently did an analysis that found that approximately 15-16% of the average adult's total TV viewing time was devoted to ad-free content---mainly SVOD services, plus PBS and pay cable. If you narrow that down to those with SVOD services, not the total population---about 40-45% of the total---- the ad-free viewing  ratio goes up to roughly 34-35% of the subscriber's TV time----the remainder being devoted to ---you guessed it---commercial TV.

  2. Laurie Sullivan from lauriesullivan, September 14, 2015 at 7:32 p.m.

    Ed, Thank you for taking the time to comment. Great insight.

  3. Benny Radjasa from Armonix Digital, Inc. replied, September 15, 2015 at 10:52 a.m.

    Ed, block ad calls will not create impression count as the ad call it self to a particular IP/domain is being block.  Popular ad server like DFP only records impression when the asset is fully loaded.  So when one is looking at viewability stats from Google Activeview (for example), it will not count these phantom exposures, because it do know the ad was never loaded.

  4. Terry Heaton from Reinvent21, September 15, 2015 at 12:14 p.m.

    Ed, what percentage of the good ol' commercial TV is recorded and therefore played back sans commercials? Just sayin..

  5. Neil Ascher from The Midas Exchange replied, September 15, 2015 at 12:14 p.m.

    Benny, I think that is exactly Ed's point.  This is a reach problem, not an impressions problem.  Some people will no longer be part of the viewing "universe.

  6. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, September 15, 2015 at 12:50 p.m.

    Thanks, Neil. Benny, that's exactly what I'm saying and what digital media sellers should be worrying about. Reach, not heavily duplicated audience "tonnage". There may still be time to set the digital house in order so you lose only that small group of chronic ad haters---not the much larger number of people who would tolerate and respond--albeit selectively--- to ads if they weren't "delivered" in such an annoying and unexpected/unwanted manner.

  7. Benny Radjasa from Armonix Digital, Inc., September 15, 2015 at 2:08 p.m.

    Ed, I am just clarifying here, because when the words such as "viewability" is used, viewability is an impression metrics, and it can cause confusion if you lump it in with site metrics, reach, etc.  Technology do evolve and we will have to deal with that evolution.  We have billboards, print, radio, TV, and now various internet mediums of delivering ads.  We'll find ways to coexist with each type medium.  I would not worry about it too much.

  8. Mark Scott from Sage Projections replied, September 15, 2015 at 2:15 p.m.

    From the Ad Contrarian:

    "According to Nielsen, in Q1 2015, DVR viewing represented about 10% of TV usage and the incidence of ad skipping among DVR users is about 50%. so about 5% of TV ads are being skipped.
    In interactive advertising ad blocking is appoaching 20% in the US and is up around 40% in the UK. In other words blocking onlines ads is many times greater than skipping.  And online ad blockers aren't even mainstream yet"

  9. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, September 15, 2015 at 4:44 p.m.

    Mark, to be fair about TV ad skipping, the typical DVR user also zaps about 10- 15% of the commercials that he or she  gets when watching "live" TV. Also, non- DVR homes do a certain amount of zapping as well---though it's at a far lower rate. It should also be noted that other forms of avoidance can not be discounted. For example, the percentage of "viewers" who leave the room during breaks rises dramatically compared to times when program content is aired. Equally important, attentiveness studies---many of which we report on in our annual, "TV Dimensions 2015" and other publications----reveal a definite loss of interest when TV ads appear. All-in all, we estimate that only 55-60% of TV's "commercial minute viewers", as reported ny Nielsen, actually note an average TV commercial, while only 30-45% can recall the event with a fair amount of prompting.

    That said, you are perfectably right about comparisons with digital. Here, we start with half of the "audience" not even having a chance to see an average ad while many more---even if attentive---can't see the entire message. Obviously this puts digital at a huge disadvantage relative to TV for any objective analyst. Even if digital goes to 100% viewability, we have the spector of ad blockers, which ,if unchecked, will greatly inhibit digital's value because advertisers won't be able to generate reach levels comparable to TV. Most cause and effect studies indicate that reach is a stronger driver of sales than frequency and most branding advertisers are well aware of this distinction.

  10. Matt Lillig from SimpleSavr, September 16, 2015 at 5:19 p.m.

    Definitely important to keep an eye on to see if ad blocking increases as it could pose significant monetization pressure if more and more people choose to block.  Reminds me of the days of cookie blocking on desktop.  Lots of people raised hell about it and how it would have major impacts on data accuracy.  But in the end it wasn't so bad as long as you understood the cookie blocking averages.  

    Bigger concern for video content creators and advertisers, in my opinion, is when to run the ad in the video clip and for how long.  At least with ad blocking, the visitor still views the video content.  As opposed to running a 30 second pre-roll ad and pissing off people so much that they A) close out and don't finish the ad and B) therefore never make it to the video content itself.  Now you piss off the advertiser and video content creator.  Most likely why you see a lot more 15 second ads these days.

Next story loading loading..