According to the latest figures from eMarketer, one in five will block ads this year in the UK. OK -- so that doesn't sound too great, right? However, if you are looking for a ray of sunshine, it comes in the form of that being slightly less than eMarketer had expected. This is because the growth of the user base of ad-blocking software or extensions has slowed to 10% this year, and will further lose momentum in 2018 when it will decrease to around 8%.
There is still growth there, but the rate of growth is slowing. We shouldn't be complacent about this, of course, because even if the percentage goes down it's off of a higher figure each year.
However, it's important to celebrate the little victories, isn't it? The ad-blocker adoption chart is not carrying on at a 45-degree angle, ever-upwards. There are signs that it is flattening out --- not totally, but the steep climb appears to be petering out slightly and levelling off.
Perhaps a little surprisingly, when you consider the fuss made about intrusive ad formats being worse on mobile, only around a third of the people who block ads will do so on the smartphone, whereas nine in ten will do so on a desktop or laptop. By the way, that's more than 100% because some people will block across both. The eMarketer researchers cite that it is difficult or impossible to block ads in most apps -- however, it's worth mentioning -- that it is still very easy to block via a mobile browser. Hence, a lower rate of blocking on mobile still holds some reason for cautious optimism.
Some other assumptions to cast away: only around half of ad blockers will be male by the end of the next year, and more than a quarter will be aged between 34 to 44. So, ad blocking is no longer the preserve of the Millennial male, but the practice has caught on equally among both genders and is moving up the age demographic scale.
As for eMarketer, its summary is that ad blocking is still a major issue (1 in 5 dodging ads must be, right?). However, the overall tone is that the doomsday scenario of ad blocking just growing and growing until display becomes irrelevant simply isn't panning out.
That has to be worth a smile during a cold, wet, windy start to June, surely.
Is it just me, or does this “good News” completely ignore Google and Apple building into their browsers ad blocking software in the default mode. Microsoft is right behind both giants. So I wouldn’t be hauling out the bubbly just yet. The time to celebrate is when we finally start creating fantastic irresistible ads again. Until then it’s a downward spiral.