There has been a lot of commentary over the past 12 months that ad blocking has hit its ceiling in terms of the number of users. But the truth is the growth in the adoption of ad blockers continues unabated. In an article on eMarketer, they highlighted that in 2019 they expected this year’s US ad blocking population to reach 73.2 million and that this still represents an increase of more than 3 million new ad blocking users this year. Globally, 47% of internet users have an ad blocker today according to the Global Ad-Blocking Behavior Report by GlobalWebIndex. That represents a whopping 763 million people using ad blockers on either a mobile or desktop device and on well over one billion devices worldwide.Whichever way you look at it, ad blocking isn’t going away. In fact, it continues to grow. And that’s a major challenge for advertisers and publishers alike. It also represents a massive opportunity if they address the ad blocking community the right way.
The Shift From Desktop to Mobile
Today, there are forces at work that are impacting the world of ad blocking. Some pundits put forward the case that the number of ad block users on a desktop is in a slight decline. However, this is a slowing in percentage growth not their use in absolute terms. In reality, the slowing growth in desktop ad blocking is driven more by the declining sales as consumers progressively shift their computing needs from desktop to mobile devices. As described by Statista, desktop-PCs – once a must for any user that intended to purposefully use their device for work or play – are the biggest victim of this shift. In 2010, desktop PC shipments reached 157 million units, a figure that is expected to fall to 79.5 million by 2023. Tablets have filled the hole left by declining PC sales, rising from 19 million units shipped in 2010, to an expected 122.1 million in 2023.This change in the use of personal computing is also reflected in the dramatic growth of ad blocking on mobile devices which is now more than half of that used on desktop computers. This is in addition to new mobile users accessing the web using browsers that block ads by default.
The Importance of Demographics
Another key trend for advertisers and publishers to consider when it comes to ad blocking is the demographics of their target audience. For example, a study from the second quarter of 2020 on ad blocker usage in the United States, found that 45 percent of respondents aged 15 to 25 said that they used an ad blocker. The same was true for 42 percent of respondents between the ages of 26 and 33 as well as 46 and 55 years. In a 2020 article, setupad.com confirmed that “Today’s main trend is that the number of ad blocker users is continuously rising. Ad blockers are most popular among young users aged 16-24 and 25-34. Asia Pacific is a top region for ad blocking with a staggering 40% user penetration rate, followed by North America (38%) and Europe (36%).” So depending on your target audience, ad blocking is a major barrier for publishers and advertisers.
What to Do
In September A. Guttmann, a research expert covering the advertising and marketing industry succinctly summed up where we are and what needs to be done. She highlighted that “there is a high correlation between negative attitudes to advertising and using ad blockers in general. However, many consumers express willingness to disable ad blockers in return for the ability to view relevant content. Which creates a window of opportunity for marketers, who can conquer ad blocking by offering personalized advertising and increasing the chances it will reach their target audiences.” And that’s why permission-based advertising is central to reaching this valuable audience.At Adtoniq, we have already seen the amazing impact doing right by consumers is having particularly in building back the trust of ad block users who are now willing to see relevant ads, engage with them and convert, and do so at a considerably higher rate than users who don’t use an ad blocker. The power of permission is proven, it’s real, it works and it’s important in this day and age.