Commentary

A 'Weather Report' On Ad Blocking And Analytics Blocking

A company formerly known as Adblock Analytics is now calling itself Blockmetry. The company specializes in measuring all type of content blocking and offers services to help companies do just that.

Pierre Far, the founder of Blockmetry, who’s also a former product manager from Google, says that while ad blocking has been a key focus for the ad industry and ad tech, ad blocking is actually only one type of content blocking. In a blog post touting the renaming of his company, Far says: “Content blocking affects most sites, as it includes analytics blocking and other kinds of content modification by networks and users.”

So while ad blocking is the most common problem facing businesses, there are other types of content-blocking challenges. For example, there’s the measurement of other types of content blocking, such as blocking of chat widgets or social media buttons.

Essentially, Blockmetry wants to gain a better understanding of why consumers are blocking ads—not just the fact that some ads are crap. It also wants to help companies recover lost revenue.

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Notably, Farr has shared some data about content blocking for certain countries and regions as a regular "weather report" of the state of the industry. The data, from May 2016, covers ad-blocking rates for 12 countries and four regions of the world. Far found that that overall, the ad blocking percentage on the worldwide content blocking rate was 28.5%, while the analytics blocking percentage was 5.1%.

Some of the most interesting findings are: In the U.S., the ad blocking percentage is 27.8% and the analytics blocking percentage is 4.6%; in the U.K., the ad blocking percentage is 30.1%  and 7.2% for analytics; in Germany, 32.6% and 14.1%, respectively; France, 39.7% and 11.6%, respectively; India, 39.2% and 6.0%, respectively; and Poland, 45.5% and 13.8%, respectively.

So why are the rates so much bigger outside of the U.S.? Far said that in India, for example, the UCBrowser (a popular mobile device browser in South Asia and China which has a built-in ad blocker), accounts for one-seventh of pageviews, but one-third of the observed blocking rate. In India, 13.5% of the data are from the UCBrowser, and notably, 97% of those browsers block ads.

The story in other countries is more nuanced, but it appears that Firefox-based browsers are a key part of the story. For example in France, 25% of the measurements are from Firefox browsers on desktop, and 49.7% (i.e., half) of those block ads, compared to 35.6% ad-blocking rate from non-Firefox desktop browsers (i.e., a bit lower than the global average). And in Germany, 25% of the measurements are from Firefox, of which 44.9% of those block ads, compared to 28.1% ad blocking by non-Firefox browsers.

“The problem is that each audience is different, and industry surveys are simply insufficient for a business to truly understand the impact of content blocking,” Far told RTBlog via email. “We are directly measuring content blocking over time, and the data can be segmented by country and device type for deeper business insights.”

Far’s data is based on a percentage of pageviews from all devices measured directly from Web sites using Blockmetry code, excluding pageviews detected to be from bots, whether they identify themselves as such (e.g. Googlebot) or not (stealth bots). The data excludes pageviews detected as blocking JavaScript. So only data from pageviews with JavaScript enabled is shown. Far said Blockmetry doesn't do user tracking or device fingerprinting.

In addition, there’s data segmented by device (mobiles, tablets, and desktop browsers) or country separately (e.g., worldwide iPhone visitors to a Web site, or all visitors in the U.K.) or in combination (e.g. Android tablet users in the U.K.).

Far says his data is different from other data, as most of what he’s seen are estimates based on user surveys or monitoring the install counts of various add-ons or browsers without looking at real-world impact. Blockmetry data shows the past 30 days of ad blocking rates.

The takeaway? Ad blocking and analytics blocking rates vary by Web site, so there’s a need to measure and understand what’s going on with both at a deeper level than is currently the case. Can't argue with that.

1 comment about "A 'Weather Report' On Ad Blocking And Analytics Blocking".
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  1. Craig Spiezle from AgeLight LLC, June 28, 2016 at 9 a.m.

    Gaining insights to the impact of blocking is key while also digging deeper into the root causes that users are blocking content.  Clearly blocking will continue to rise and increasingly impact business models.   Time to evolve and put the user experience first. There are some key lessons learned from the email industry where users (and ISPs) block marketers who fail to understand the user experience including open and engagement rates. Same issues from the past decade.  More at https://otalliance.org/Adintegrity.

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