Ad blockers are expected to wipe out nearly £50bn worth of global online advertising next year, according to an indepth study which claims take-up of the service will rocket over the next 12 months.
The new report from PageFair and Adobe, which says that ad blockers will snatch £14bn of ad revenue this year, suggests the next 12 months will create an online advertising nightmare.
In the UK alone, adblock services have grown by 82%, with 12 million users signing up. AdBlock Plus is the most popular service, which provides a large database of blocked ads alongside some approved ads that are not deemed obnoxious.
Across Europe, the growth is much lower, with only 35% growth in Adblock over the past year. That accounts for 77 million Europeans blocking ads. The US also noted a 42% growth in users.
PageFair chief executive and co-founder Sean Blanchfield said: “It is tragic that adblock users are inadvertently inflicting multi-billion dollar losses on the very websites they most enjoy.
“With ad blocking going mobile, there’s an eminent threat that the business model that has supported the open web for two decades is going to collapse. PageFair is working with thousands of publishers to securely display user-friendly advertising and keep free websites in business. I hope this report will prompt more editors, website owners, and publishers to join with us to combat the problem.”
Even Google boss Larry Page concedes that the reason adblock is so popular, is because obnoxious ads force web users’ hand.
However, before wipespread panic sets in at the prosepect of the Internet no longer being able to support itself through advertising, technology companies are finding increasingly subtle ways to avoid meltdown.
Earlier this year, Adblock Plus was accused of secretly cosying up to the likes of Google, Microsoft and Amazon – which control billions of pounds in adspend – to allow their ads to go through its filters, in exchange for wads of cash.
According to a report in the Financial Times, Eyeo GmbH, the German start-up behind Adblock Plus, charges large companies huge amounts of money to get their ads unblocked, despite other businesses being forced to comply with AdBlock’s “acceptable ads” policy to get them approved.
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