Ad Blocking on the Rise?

In other news...perhaps the ad-block apocalypse is still on

Recently, I discussed an article that argued that we may have avoided the so-called “ad block apocalypse.” Today, a new study may signal quite the opposite. This new study by PageFair says that ad-blocking increased 30% worldwide year-over-year. I was dubious at the time of the prior article, and this confirms my suspicions that the situation is getting worse.

The interesting thing in this study is that it gets at the difference in behavior between Asia-Pacififc users versus US/Europe users. It seems that users in the US and Europe are, for the moment, primarily concerned with malware.

In contrast, the vast majority of ad-blocking on traditional computers, whose use similarly jumped 17 percent last year, to 236 million devices, is still restricted mainly to the United States and Europe. In those regions, people’s efforts to block malware disguised as online advertising has been the main motivation for downloading ad blockers.

Thus, their usage (for the moment) is limited mostly to the desktop.

On the other hand, users in Asia-Pacific, who represent the vast majority of mobile ad-block usage, are doing so because of costly mobile data plans.

Across the developing world, ad-blocking software is primarily used by people to save on often costly data packages by removing video and other data-hungry advertisements from mobile websites.

I guess that this may be important to you depending on which markets that your content is targeting. However, the experts cited seem to believe that behavior in the US and Europe will change and mobile usage will increase.

A common refrain we see as a solution is:

“The best way for the industry to tackle this problem is to deliver compelling ad experiences that consumers won’t want to block.”

Except, that’s the thing about ad-blockers, they are the nuclear option from a user standpoint. It’s not like on my TV where I can mute or fast-forward (with a DVR of course) ads that I don’t want to see. In this case, I see no ads - so how exactly would I ever know that there is an ad that I don’t want to block if I am already blocking it. That’s simply a recipe for maintaining the status quo at best rather than moving towards a viable solution for content creators/publishers. Given that the content model of the web is currently broken (as I’ve said many, many, many, many times before), that is not a strategy for success.

What is? If I only knew, I’d be doing it.