UK Ad Blocking Usage Rises by Over 20 Per Cent in Four Months

ad-block-mobile.pngClose to a quarter of British adults are making use of ad blockers when they go online, according to a new poll conducted for YouGov on behalf of the IAB, a rise of over 20 per cent from when last measured in October 2015.

22 per cent of adults now use content blocking tools, up from 18 per cent on Octobers study. The highest level of ad blocking is amongst 18-24 year olds, where 47 per cent of respondents used blockers. Those aged 45-54 are the least likely to block ads, at 16 per cent.

The publishing industrys fight back against ad blocking is being noticed by users – 64 per cent of respondents have had websites ask them to deactivate the software, while 54 per cent said that, in certain situations, they would switch off their ad blocker if websites said it was the only way to access content.

This figure rose to 73 per cent among 18-24 year olds, with most respondents more willing to switch of ad blockers for favourite or frequently used sites. Only three per cent of those currently using an ad blocker would be happy to switch it off for all sites if requested to.

One interesting statistic is that 20 per cent of those who have downloaded an ad blocker no longer use it, with restricted content being the second most popular reason for abandoning ad blockers, after changing devices.

People cited ads that didnt interfere as the primary reason they would be less likely to block ads, at 45 per cent. Fewer ads on the page and more relevant ads were also popular answers, at 29 per cent and 12 per cent respectively.

“The IAB believes that an ad funded internet is essential for providing revenue to publishers so they can continue to make their content, services and applications widely available at little, or no cost,” said Guy Phillipson, UK CEO of the IAB. “We believe ad blocking undermines this approach and could mean consumers have to pay for content they currently get for free.”

“Part of the solution to tackle ad blocking lies in making consumers more aware of the consequences, which seems like it’s starting to filter through. If they realise it means they can’t access content or that to do so requires paying for it, then they might stop using ad blockers. It requires reinforcing this “trade-off” message – ads help to fund the content they enjoy for free.”

Update:
We received the following comment on the growth in ad blocking from Richard Robinson, managing director EMEA at Turn:
“The IAB has today announced that more than a fifth of British web users now block ads. These findings should be the jolt the industry needs to kick it into action. It’s a sign that advertising is too invasive. Until creativity is taken seriously within the programmatic space the rapid rise of ad blocking will continue. Looking at the agencies that embrace data-led advertising and the insights it brings to the creative process, the opportunities these agencies enjoy are immense.

“Digital formats offer advertising a wealth of options to engage with their target audience, but this can only come from careful consideration and understanding of audience behaviour. By harnessing the power of data through asking the right questions, advertisers can only deliver a better output that drives quality interactions with their ads. This balance of creativity and data is key for the industry to overcome the appeal of ad blockers.”