Commentary

Does Ad Blocking Threaten Mobile Future?

A confluence of annoying ads and accessible software has resulted in a mobile ad-blocking revolution. 

Worldwide, more than one in five (22%) of smartphone owners are actively using mobile ad-blocking browsers, per the latest findings from PageFair.

Year-over-year, that represents a 90% jump in blocker usage, according to the ad-blocking solutions provider. Among some 1.9 billion smartphone users, meanwhile, that comes out to about 419 million consumers never seeing your ads.

Of course, the vast majority of blocking is taking place in Asia. As of March, there were 159 million users of mobile ad-blocking browsers in China; 122 million in India; and 38 million in Indonesia.

That doesn’t mean that mobile blocking isn’t occurring in the West. With the help of app-intelligence firm Priori Data, PageFair counted 14 million monthly active users of mobile ad-blocking browsers in North America and Europe, as of March.

Yet, mobile ad blocking remains a rare activity in the United States. Throughout North America, in fact, a mere 1.2% of smartphone owners are using browsers that automatically block ads, while content-blocking apps now reside on just 0.9% of smartphones.

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Still, U.S. publishers and platforms -- many of which are looking abroad to scale their businesses -- should be concerned about the findings.

Industry leaders insist that they’re aware of the rising threat. “Consumers are pushing back on mobile and online ads,” Nancy Hill, CEO of the 4A’s, toldPageFair for its report.

What’s the solution? For one, advertisers and marketers need to “take a hard look” at how they may be contributing to the problem, according to Hill.

From there, it will be critical to “correct the issue to better engage with the consumers we’re trying to reach,” Hill said.

2 comments about "Does Ad Blocking Threaten Mobile Future?".
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  1. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, May 31, 2016 at 4:22 p.m.

    Despite the rosy and optimistic forecasts of fantastic growth in mobile ad revenue, if upwards of 50% of mobile users adopt ad blockers, as now seems likely, of course this will have a huge negative impact on ad revenues, in particular for branding  campaigns. It's really a stretch to admonish advertisers for "contributing" to the problem. What's needed is a well thought out industry-wide approach to ad placement which is far less disruptive to the users' yet still fair to the advertisers. Without that, it's pointless to expect that thousands of brands will, somehow,  come together to work things out so their ads are, collectively, more engaging to mobile users. Fat chance!

  2. Ted Rubin from The Rubin Organization / Return on Relationship, May 31, 2016 at 5:19 p.m.

    Once again a misleading headline from MediaPost... this is way too regular an occurence. Ad Blocking doesn't threaten Mobile's future whatsoever... it threatens the sale of Mobile Advertising as it is currently "misused." 

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