Commentary

Mobile Ad-Blocking Rates Are Soaring

The ad-blocking conversation continues unabated. That’s not new.

What is new is that mobile ad blocking is now estimated to extend to 419 million smartphone users globally, according to a new report by PageFair, a provider of ad tech and analytics for publishers  That amounts to 22% of the world's 1.9 billion global smartphone users who are blocking ads.

That’s an alarming data point, and there is no doubt that ad blocking will continue to grow. PageFair’s estimate was as of March 2016, so by year end, that number could double.

The new data is a big jump from PageFair and Adobe’s frequently cited August 2015 report, which estimated 198 million users of ad blockers on desktop browsers.

The new report explains that in-app ads on platforms like Spotify, Apple News, and CNN are vulnerable to ad blocking. One of the report’s insights is that it’s possible to block “suggested” content in Facebook and Instagram and other ads in Facebook’s mobile app.

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Other findings include:

  • The fact that both mobile Web and in-app ads can now be blocked.
  • An estimated 408 million people were actively using mobile ad-blocking browsers (i.e., a mobile browser that blocks ads by default), as of March 2016.
  • There are 159 million users of mobile ad-blocking browsers in China, 122 million in India, and 38 million in Indonesia, as of March 2016.
  • 36% of smartphone users in Asia-Pacific are currently blocking ads on the mobile Web.  In India and Indonesia, over 60% of smartphone users are blocking ads on the mobile Web. In China, almost one-third of smartphone users are blocking ads.
  • In Europe and North America there were 14 million monthly active users of mobile ad blocking browsers, as of March 2016.
  • An additional 4.9 million content-blocking and in-app ad-blocking apps were downloaded from app stores in Europe and North America since September 2014.
  • Mobile ad blocking grew by 90% globally in 2015.  

It appears that ad-blocking browsers, which are mobile browsers that block ads by default, account for the majority of mobile ad blocking. This type of ad blocking is popular in emerging markets such as China, India, Indonesia, and Pakistan. This is an area to watch closely, as mobile is the primary way people are accessing the Internet in these markets.

The bottom line is that ad blocking is now a huge threat to all mobile channels. “Failure to address user concerns about mobile advertising in North America and Europe will lead to the same kind of widespread ad block usage that we are seeing in the Asia Pacific region,” stated Sean Blanchfield, CEO and co-founder at PageFair.

The report “Adblocking Goes Mobile” was created with app intelligence firm Priori Data.

1 comment about "Mobile Ad-Blocking Rates Are Soaring".
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  1. Neil Mahoney from Mahoney/Marketing, May 31, 2016 at 11:45 a.m.

    The magnitude of ad blocking should not be a surprise to anyone who understands Marketing.
    In magazines ads are not intrusive.  They sit quietly in your viewing range.  They're designed to attract the reader, who can choose to read them or not -- without aggravation.
    Pop-up ads on the Internet ARE highly intrusive and aggravating.  The best solution seems to be headlines that are interspersed between paragraphs in the articles.  Think like the customer!!!

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