Yet more signs that ad blocking may be easing
Forecast: Just a quarter of Americans will use the apps this year
February 16, 2017
Advertisers and media people who have been freaking out for months over ad blocking can take a few deep breaths.
Ad blockers don’t appear to be growing as fast as many analysts first expected.
In fact, one forecaster has lowered its outlook for ad blocking in the coming year, coming after European countries have seen the same slower pace of adoption.
This could mean ad blockers won’t wreak quite the havoc on the industry that many had feared.
A new forecast from eMarketer says U.S. users of ad-blocking apps will reach 75.1 million people this year.
That’s a big number, yes, but it’s significantly lower than its previous prediction last year that ad blockers would top 86 million in 2017.
Even at the reduced level, that still represents 27.5 percent of all internet users.
Clearly ad blocking won’t just go away. But if it’s not growing at quite the rapid pace eMarketer had predicted, then advertisers may not have to worry as much.
Indeed, at the end of last year, a report came out in Germany that found ad blocking rates had actually dropped. And in many European countries, such as France and England, usage of ad blockers is below 20 percent.
Behind the lower growth
Ad blocking was, like cord cutting, supposed to be the new big threat to advertising.
So how come the adjusted numbers?
One big reason appears to be format. Ad blockers are generally used on desktops. EMarketer says just 8 percent of mobile users employ ad blockers, largely because they are not as effective on phones and tablets, and they usually don’t work within apps.
Since we’re more and more of a mobile society – according to a recent comScore estimate, almost two-thirds of digital time is on smartphones and tablets – it makes sense that ad blockers may not be as widely used as first expected.
The companies behind the technology will need to improve their mobile offerings to keep up with people’s habits.
But eMarketer also notes that publishers who refuse to serve content to those using ad blockers are also having some success. That’s led to less usage of the tool on desktops.
Who’s using ad blockers
Of course, a quarter of the population is still a sizable chunk of people, so it’s worth looking at just who’s using ad blockers.
As you’d expect, it’s young people, who tend to be early adopters of all technology.
Forty-one percent of Millennials will use ad blockers this year, compared to 26.9 percent of Generation X, according to eMarketer.
Who’s not using them? Baby Boomers, who employ them at a rate of just 13.9 percent. Remember, ad blocking on any format is somewhat foreign to them – they didn’t grow up with the DVR.
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