Summits Yellow

Ad Blocking on the Decline in Germany

Alex Spencer

Ad blocker usage over the past four quarters

A graph showing German ad blocker usage over the past four quarters

Ad blockers impacted 19.1 per cent of desktop page impressions to Germany’s biggest online publishers during Q3 2016.

The figures come from OVK (Online-Vermarkterkreis), the country’s central body of online marketers, and BVDW (Bundesverband Digitale Wirtschaft), the federal body for the digital economy.

While a fifth is certainly not a small fraction to be using ad blocker, the research suggests blocking is on the decline. Blocked impressions have fallen from 19.4 per cent in the previous quarter – the third consecutive quarter of decline, from a peak of 21.5 per cent in Q4 2016.

The report only cover desktop impressions, so it’s impossible to say what this trend might mean for the still-nascent ecosystem of mobile ad blocking, but the figures’ country of origin makes them particularly interesting.

Germany is one of the most mature markets for ad block usage in the world. According to a 2015 Pagefair report, 27 per cent of German internet users had a desktop ad blocker installed, the fourth highest in Europe.

It's also the home of Eyeo, the owner of popular blocker Adblock Plus. As a result, the country has seen perhaps the most prominent retaliation against ad blockers in the entire world. A case brought against Eyeo by publisher Spiegel Online was last week dismissed by a regional court in Hamburg. It's the seventh such case which the ad blocker has won in Germany.

"We at Eyeo are happy to commit our resources to fighting for user-empowering tools like ad blockers while working with publishers on user friendly, sustainable monetisation methods," said Adblock Plus communications and operations manager Ben Williams in a blog post. "In fact, when we do so, all the other ad- and content-blockers benefit from each lawsuit we win – because let’s not forget that if one ad blocker is outlawed in Germany, a slew of lawsuits will eventually outlaw them all."