The Pot Calling The Kettle Blocked

Of all the stories I’ve covered recently, the industry’s reaction to the ad blocking features of Apple’s iOS9 surprised me the most. I’ve said that before, because I figured everyone knew that ad blockers were already highly penetrated. Depending on whose estimates you take, at least 25% and upwards of 40% of all browsers have an ad blocker installed on them. The reason for blogging about it today is that I’ve just come by some data about how well penetrated ad blockers are on the browsers of an especially important segment of the marketplace: advertisers and agency executives. And guess what? They index higher than the overall consumer marketplace.

According to advertiser and agency respondents to a recent survey by Advertiser Perceptions Inc., 45% of marketers and 41% of agency execs currently have one ore more ad blockers installed on their personal browsers.



I’m not surprised. Ad industry folks are some of the most technologically savvy avoiders of advertising in the world. Partly it’s because they have the technical knowledge to do so. Partly it’s because they are so busy creating ads that they don’t have as much time to spend looking at other people’s ads.

Seriously, if you’ve attended any industry event over the past two decades where a keynoter or panelists turned to the audience and asked how many attendees skip TV ads with their DVR when they come on, you likely saw what I did: Virtually unanimous hands pushed high in the air. Almost like bragging rights. Almost like, “What, are you kidding? Me look at ads?”

Well, the same principle seems to be operating with ad blockers. Industry pros install and use them more than the average consumer. And it’s probably for the same reason average consumers do: because they can.

The survey did not ask them why they use ad blockers personally, but if you’re an industry pro and you use one feel free to comment here.
6 comments about "The Pot Calling The Kettle Blocked".
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  1. Steve Baldwin from Didit, October 19, 2015 at 4:34 p.m.

    I don't use a blocker because I'm supposed to be able to see an unencumbered view of the commercial Web. But I would if I could...

  2. Neil Mahoney from Mahoney/Marketing, October 19, 2015 at 4:49 p.m.

    I'm an old-time, long-time ad man, and learnede many years ago that it's not wise to irritate the reader.  Pop-up ads are really aggravating and irritating.  I don't know why advertisers waste money on these irritating gimmicks.

  3. Ari Rosenberg from Performance Pricing Holdings, LLC, October 19, 2015 at 6:04 p.m.

    Joe, maybe that's why so many in our industry do not reflect empathy for the consumer experience that is causing this increase in ad blocking?  I don't use an ad blocker -- how could I write about the wrongs we commit if I don't experience them first hand?

  4. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, October 19, 2015 at 6:57 p.m.

    Joe, I started to use ad blockers on my PC about two years ago as the number of ads and their negative impact on my user experience with many websites became too much to bear. Now, all I get are embedded ads, which are a small fraction of the old dosage---hence, bearable. I must also say that I avoid more and more TV commercials, mostly on certain channels which are notorious for excessive clutter; even when I stay tuned during a break I invariably mute the sound. Unlike my digital usage, however, I find myself watching a fair number of TV commercials---some for their entertainment values--- and others---especially those I haven't seen before----for their informational value, when the product category is of interest.

  5. Kim S from Media, October 20, 2015 at 1:46 p.m.

    I laughed at your line about DVR bragging rights Joe, so true! I remember the first time I saw this early TIVO days, a major agency multi-sales org preso day with clients in audience and the agency buyers all proudly proclaimed they sped right past tv commercials and I felt my jaw drop. 
    Fast forward to today and I'm with Ari, while I'm not writing about the wrongs, I'm always curious about our biz.

  6. Doc Searls from Customer Commons, October 20, 2015 at 8:48 p.m.

    In 2002 I attended Digital Hollywood, attended almost entirely by TV and movie people, and reported my findings here: . Among them:  "...the moderator asked how many people in the audience had a TiVo machine at home. Nearly every hand went up. Then he asked how many would honestly admit they used their TiVo to fast-forward through the ads. Just about every hand stayed up." Another feared result of ad skipping was that "consumers will not get as good programming." Thirteen years later the technological support for ad-skipping is far more advanced and the sky has not fallen. Sure, a lot of channels and programs are still crap, but there is more good stuff on TV than ever, some of it paid for by ads and some by subscriptions.

    BTW & FWIW, my own take on the Adblock Thing is an eleven-part (so far) series here:

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