Ad blocking is on the rise and marketers are still figuring out how to go about this trend. The debate on how to manage the increase of ad blocking has been fierce so far. With ad blocking user growing from roughly 21 million in 2009 to 198 million in June 2015, publishers and marketers are worried that their primary source of revenue might end up folding on itself. During this period, ad blocking has caused publishers roughly $22 billion. By 2016, ad blocking will cost publishers nearly $41 billion.
Why people use ad blocking software
One might wonder why so many people are resorting to ad blocking software. According to a recent study by PageFair, 22.5% of web users use ad blocking software and claim that online ads are annoying and disruptive. This percentage may look small, but it is a big cause for worry given the fact that the rate can only increase. The rate of growth of ad blocking has been estimated at 43% per year.
Several surveys have revealed that people are worried about their safety and privacy. They believe ad blocking will prevent tracking. Also, 35% of ad blocking software users say ads are annoying, 27% claim that they simply don’t like ads, and 8% say ads reduce the speed of their browsers. Other reasons for ad blocking include too many ads (6%), spam prevention (5%) inappropriate content (3%) and security (2), among others.
Ad blocking preference
The top 5 industries that are affected by the ad blocking surge include gaming where 26.5 % of users use ad blocking software, social networks (19.1%) Tech/Internet (17%), education (16%) and sports/recreation (15.5%).
When it comes to ad blocking by user’s age, it is most prevalent among users in the age group 18-34 where 41% of users use ad blocking software. 36% of users aged between 35-54 use ad blocking software while 23% of users aged over 55% prefer not to see online ads. A joint study by Moz and Fractl shows that almost two-thirds of U.S millennials use ad blocking software when browsing the internet.
51% of users say they have been using ad blocking for more than 3 years. However, 60% of users say they would turn off ad blocking for the sake of content.
What is the way forward?
The internet has always mostly been known as a hub for free resources. So it is only natural that internet users will find ads annoying. On the other hand, publishers see no reason users should block ads because it is such a small price to pay to access content that they (publishers and marketers) have so laboriously created.
So there is a ferocious debate regarding how publishers and marketers should handle this problem. One of the solutions that have often been brought up is that publishers then need to charge users who want to access their content and to some extent deny access to ad-blocked users. So the more ad blockers we will witness, the more the content will move to paid subscriptions. It is a win-win situation.
For Millennials especially, long page-load times and privacy concerns are the driving force for ad-blocking trends. Some of these issues could be addressed by doing something about ads that slow down browsers or enforce the privacy concerns.