Fist Bumps And High Fives! Study Finds Ad-Blocking Usage Has Stalled, Advertising A Necessary Evil

Who knew? Remember yesterday when ad blocking was all the rage? When Randall Rothenberg went on a rant calling ad-blocking companies an "unethical, immoral, mendacious coven of techie wannabes"? Remember?

Then we all stopped talking about it. Well, as we all stopped talking about it, guess what? Its adoption rate stalled -- well, at least in England where an IAB study found just 22% of British adults use ad blocking software. The report noted that figure may actually be lower due to respondents incorrectly citing their anti-virus software-accomplished ad blocking or not being able to name the ad-blocking software they claimed to use.

The IAB study surmises that the actual usage number could be closer to 18%. Eighteen percent! More people go to the bathroom during commercials than that! OK -- that's not an apples-to-apples comparison, but you get my point. For all the hoopla over ad blocking, it certainly does not seem to have marked the death of online advertising as we know it. Of course, content marketing has -- even more so -- flipped the standard equation and completely usurped any benefit an ad blocker may have provided.

The most interesting finding in the study? It was found that many (24%) stop using an ad blocker after having downloaded it once they realize many Web sites refuse access to content when an ad blocker is in use. So, yeah -- the notion that people will pay for ad-free content? Not so much. That 24% figure is up from 16% a year ago, likely due to an increase in Web sites implementing ad blocker blockers.

Of the study's findings IAB UK CEO Jon Mew said: “The continued rise in ad blocking that some predicted simply hasn’t materialized. A key reason is publishers denying access to content to ad blockers which, in effect, has created that ‘lightbulb’ moment for people who realize that they cannot access free content without seeing the advertising that funds it. The industry has worked hard on promoting this ‘value exchange’ and it’s paying off.”

While he might be even happier if that 22% were zero percent, my guess is that Randall Rothenberg is flashing a big smile these days.



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