Ad blocking losses rise to £630,000 per publisher in the UK

Tim Maytom

Ad blocking remains a serious problem for publishers and marketers, with almost 30 per cent of ad impressions on desktop blocked in 2017, according to new figures from the Association for Online Publishers (AOP). While mobile ad blocking rates remained low, the number had almost doubled since 2016.

The AOP’s Ad Blocking Audit aggregated data from 14 large publishers including ESI Media, the Guardian, The Telegraph and Condé Nast and found that 29.9 per cent of ad impressions on desktop were blocked at the end of 2017, down from 31.7 per cent in mid-2016. On mobile, only 1.3 per cent of impressions were blocked, up from 0.7 per cent over the same period. Across both channels, the ad blocking rate averaged out to 11.6 per cent.

The AOP’s research calculated that the total amount in ad revenues lost by the publishers involved totalled nearly £14m over the course of 12 months, up from £10.8m in 2016. That averaged out to around £630,000 per publisher in annual revenues lost.

“Ad blocking hasn’t vanished,” said Nick Flood, deputy managing director of digital at Dennis Publishing. “It’s still a threat that can’t be forgotten. Publishers still need to find a route forward. GDPR has taken over, but publishers still need to understand how to message and then monetise users.”

Publishers were also failing to account for the impact of ad blocking, with AOP’s research finding that not all of the organisations members had tool in place to monitor their ad blocking rates, and there was little to no consistency across the technology in place.