At last, the message finally appears to be getting through to consumers that ad blocking threatens the entire “free” Internet, with the latest figures showing that the proportion of British adults using the software has now remained at around 22% for the past year.
The latest wave of the IAB’s Ad Blocking Report, conducted online by YouGov, also reveals that one in five (21%) people who originally downloaded ad blockers do not currently use them.
The biggest reason cited, aside from switching to a new device (24%), is that these consumer are no longer able to access some content with the blocker installed – 24% citing this reason, up from 16% a year ago, the study shows.
And IAB chief executive Jon Mew goes further to suggest, in reality, ad blocking levels may actually be lower than 22% as nearly one fifth of those claiming to currently use an ad blocker cited their anti-virus software or could not identify using a genuine ad blocker “which would put the real number blocking ads at nearer 18%”.
“The continued rise in ad blocking that some predicted simply hasn’t materialised,” said Mew. “A key reason is publishers denying access to content to ad blockers which, in effect, has created that ‘lightbulb’ moment for people who realise that they cannot access free content without seeing the advertising that funds it. The industry has worked hard on promoting this ‘value exchange’ and it’s paying off.”
However, Mew warned: “Despite the stall in ad blocking, it’s vital the industry doesn’t take its foot off the pedal in working to provide people with a better, lighter and more considerate online advertising experience which will discourage them from blocking ads altogether.”
Meanwhile Trinity Mirror strategy director Piers North said: “Like all publishers, we’ll continue our attempts to balance the often competing requirements of what brands and agencies value, with the experience that we would want to deliver for our users in order to invest in professional content.
“This is especially important in an era where advertisers are increasingly demanding quality inventory and society is more and more concerned with the provenance of content and news.”
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