Mobile ad blocker usage has dropped in Australia, says IAB

Alex Spencer

Just five per cent of Australians use an ad blocker on their smartphone, according to an IAB Australia report based on research conducted April 2017 by Pureprofile.

That's a drop from the last wave of research in October 2016, when six per cent reported use of a mobile ad blocker.

Desktop ad blocking levels are much higher, at 21 per cent, but it's heading in the same direction, down from 24 per cent six months earlier. Interestingly, that's in contrast to awareness of ad blockers, which is up four percentage points to 63 per cent.

Awareness of ad blockers has increased from 59 percent to 63 percent, but current usage has declined by two percentage points to 25 percent of online Australians (or one in four), compared to 27 percent since October 2016.

“Whilst it is positive news that the use of ad blocking appears to be stablising in Australia, it is imperative that the advertising industry continues to double down on our efforts to evolve and improve the ad experience for consumers,” said Vijay Solanki, CEO of IAB Australia. “As mobile emerges as the channel of choice for many consumers, it will be key to ensure that mobile advertising respects the close relationship that a consumer has with their mobile phones and adheres to the LEAN principles of providing lighter, relevant and higher quality advertising experiences.”

28 per cent of users indicated that fears about getting a virus were their primary motivation for blocking ads, while 'too many ads' figured into the decision for 23 per cent.

71 per cent of ad block users said they'd seen a prompt from a website asking them to turn off their ad blocker. For 50 per cent of users, this has at least once led them to turn off their blocker for that site, while 25 per cent have whitelist the site, and five per cent deleted the blocker entirely. There's at least some crossover between these groups, though, as 37 per cent said they have never taken any action in response to these requests.