Earlier this year, AdBlock Plus announced it had 500 million downloads and 50 million active users. At Tech Crunch Disrupt NY 2016, it announced 100 million active installations. Does that mean they could be closing in on ONE BILLION downloads worldwide? And that’s just one of the options available for consumers. Publishers are worried, obviously, because ads bring in revenue. Blocking ads turns off the spigot. And they’re gaining traction. An Accenture survey of 28,000 consumers reports 61% of consumers are aware of ways to block ads and 42% said they would pay to eliminate them.
While estimates of how many people are blocking ads right now in the U.S., Sourcepoint predicts a 50% ad block penetration by 2018. Another study, by Retale, claims 63% of millennials use ad blocking software currently.
Now that ad block software is widely available for mobile use, those numbers surely will grow. With the cost of mobile data and ads slowing doing page load times, consumers are starting to rebel. Before it was a nuisance. Now it might actually be costing them money.
“It’s futile to focus all efforts on trying to outsmart ever-evolving ad-blocking technologies to force audiences to watch ads. The industry needs to do everything possible to make ads less of an infringement on precious screen time.” – Gavin Mann, Accenture
The Interactive Ad Bureau has been trying to create new guidelines for advertising that is less intrusive and better targeted to consumers, but anything it develops is voluntary. Google has weighed in as well and, with their muscle, they may make some inroads with what the call “acceptable ads.”
“We’re in this mess because the IAB has failed to create an advertising ecosystem that is sustainable and healthy,” Till Faida, CEO of Adblock Plus’s owner (Eyeo).
Some strong words have been going back and forth between the folks at Adblock Plus and the IAB.
“I have no argument against anybody using adblockers because there is a kernel of right when it comes to the impedance of user experience,” he said. “But as I’ve said before, this is an extortion-based business and hurts publishers.”
At Tech Crunch NY 2016, both Till Faida of Eyeo and Randall Rothenberg of IAB had a chance to weigh in on ad blockers and what they see as the future.