Ad blockers responsible for $21.8bn of advertising revenue loss – ad fraud also a challenge

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A new report from PageFair and Adobe finds that almost $22bn ad revenues will be lost this year due to ad blocking. In the US alone, ad blockers resulted in $5.8bn revenue lost in 2014 and are estimated to double in 2015. By 2016, the global cost of ad blocking is predicted to rise to $41.4bn.

The number of people using ad blockers grew by 41% the year over. In June 2015, 198m people used the software monthly. In Europe, ad blocking increased by 35%. Greece has the highest rate of ad blocking at 36.7% and Slovakia the lowest.

Europe ad blocking

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Source: blog.pagefair.com

Mobile has yet to catch up to the trend. The majority of ad blockers are being installed on desktops and laptops with Google Chrome driving installs due to its ease of adding extensions. During Q2 2015, mobile accounted for 38% of web browsing. However, only 1.6% of PageFair ad block traffic came from mobile devices.

Whilst mobile internet is outgrowing desktops fast, ad-blocking hasn’t caught up yet

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Source: blog.pagefair.com

However, The Cost of Ad Blocking study predicts that this is likely to change as mobile technologies continue to develop. Apple’s iOS9 Safari to be released this fall will be a major game changer. Indeed, in addition to mainstream browsers such as Chrome and Firefox enabling extensions on mobile devices, specialist mobile browsers with ad blocking as default setting are already available. AdBlock Plus is one of the leading apps in this field, available for a variety of mobile devices.

Browsers facilitating mobile ad blocking

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Source: blog.pagefair.com

Sean Blanchfield, CEO and Co-Founder, PageFair, says:

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“It is tragic that ad block users are inadvertently inflicting multi-billion dollar losses on the very websites they most enjoy. With ad blocking going mobile, there’s an eminent threat that the business model that has supported the open web for two decades is going to collapse. PageFair is working with thousands of publishers to securely display user-friendly advertising and keep free websites in business. I hope this report will prompt more editors, website owners, and publishers to join with us to combat the problem.”

Ad-blocking software developer Eyeo, creator of AdBlock Plus, now has 60m active users worldwide. Ben Williams COO of AdBlock Plus defends the technology saying it is driving innovation. Demonstrating a change in culture, he agrees that ad-blockers are here to stay and are growing organically – by sheer consumer demand. More importantly, in an interview with Marketing Magazine, he raised the issue of mobile ad-fraud which is likely to help catapult ad blocking growth. He says:

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“As consumers start to place a greater reliance on mobile technology for viewing, storing and sharing data it’s likely these concerns will transcend across and if that is the case, the mobile advertising industry is going to have to start addressing some pretty big grievances currently in the market, notably the rise in mobile advertising fraud. The next challenge therefore will be addressing negative perceptions of mobile advertising, amongst mainstream consumers, who are likely to switch off if they feel threatened, turning to tools which can support their security needs, such as ad blocking technology.”

A Forensiq report found that mobile ad fraud is costing the US advertising industry $1bn per year.