AdBlock Plus hits back at IAB claims that adblock users are stagnating

Tyrone Stewart

AdBlock Plus (ABP) has fired back at the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) after YouGov research, commissioned by the Bureau, revealed that UK adblocking adoption had plateaued at 22 per cent year-on-year.

ABP has pointed out that the research failed to consider the rise in the number of mobile adblocking users – which has now overtaken desktop devices.

“If there’s been a stagnation in the adblock users, we’ve not seen this,” said Ben Williams, head of operations and communications at AdBlock Plus. “If you look at adblocking on a per-country basis, we’ve long predicted that numbers would level around the 20-30 per cent mark. The numbers given by the IAB are largely based on desktop users, but critically fail to realise the impact of increasing mobile users… where mobile adblockers dwarf desktop users.”

The latest PageFair report showed that there are 615m devices blocking ads – 62 per cent of which come from mobile. This growth was found to be largely down to the APAC region, which saw 40 per cent growth in mobile adblocking in 2016.

“Last year we saw a huge growth in mobile adblockers, and this year we’re seeing the exact same. Yet this trend in mobile adblocking won’t be exclusive to the APAC region alone. As mobile adblocking software capitalises in other regions and users become wary of this, it won’t come as much of a surprise if other regions such as Europe and North America also experience similar growth,” said Williams.

“The high proportion of APAC adblockers suggests that the mobile platform is still raw and requires time to innovate. For both publishers and advertisers alike it represents two considerations, one being to stop the number of intrusive ads, and the second to better understand and adjust to the hardware restraints that weren’t previously experienced on desktops.”