The Internet Advertising Bureau is trying to play down the latest rise in the adoption of ad-blocking software, despite new figures showing nearly one-five consumers have now downloaded it.
The Ad Blocking Report, conducted online by YouGov, shows that 18% of people now use the software – up from 15% in June – although if this increases at its current rate it will reach 25% – a quarter of the population by next year.
Ad blocking is more prevalent among men surveyed (23%) than women (13%) and the propensity to block ads decreases with age – from 35% of 18-24 year olds to 13% of people 55+.
However, less than six in 10 (57%) people who have ever downloaded the software said their main motivation was to block all ads; 20% said the main reason was to block certain types of ads or ads from certain websites.
The most common reason people would be less likely to block ads is if they did not interfere with what they were doing (cited by 48%) followed by having fewer ads on a page (36%). One in seven (14%) would be less likely to block ads if they were more relevant.
A bullish Guy Phillipson – chief executive of IAB UK – said the “small rise is not unexpected considering the publicity it’s been receiving”.
He maintains it does provide some perspective on the situation for those referring to an “adblockalypse”.
Phillipson added: “More importantly, it also provides a clear message to the industry – a less invasive, lighter ad experience is absolutely vital to address the main cause of ad blocking. That’s why we’re developing the L.E.A.N advertising principles for the online advertising supply chain.”
When told that ad blocking means some websites will have to stop providing free content or charge people to use them, 61% of British adults online said they would prefer to access content for free and see ads than pay to access content.
Phillipson explained: “The other key tactic to reduce ad blocking is making consumers more aware of the consequences – what we call the “value exchange.” If more people realise content is only free because ads pay for it, then fewer people will be inclined to block ads. Only 4% are willing to face the other option – paying for content with no ads.”
Among those currently using ad blocking software, 71% are doing so on laptops, 47% on desktop PCs. Just under a quarter (23%) are blocking ads on mobiles, less than one in five (19%) on tablets.
The study has to be put in the context of a separate report, carried out by Instantly, which showed over half (55%) of UK consumers find mobile ads annoying and disruptive and choose to skip or ignore them yet only 47% have actually heard about the technology.
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