Latest ad block research: 22% of UK adults now use ad blockers, compared to almost 60% in the US

IAB-logo retale

Two interesting studies were posted recently: the IAB UK’s Ad Blocking Report and a survey among 500 US adults by location-based mobile platform Retale. The findings have given me a chance to compare the use of ad blockers in the UK with usage in the US.

According to the research from IAB UK, the use of ad blockers has increased from 18% to 22% since October 2015. In the US, figures are a little steeper. 57% of respondents which Retale surveyed said they used ad blockers to prevent display ads on PC. Millennials are leading the trend with 63% of the 18-34 year-olds using ad blockers.

Retale also found that 20% of US respondents now use ad blocking on their mobile devices. Whilst that may still seem low, a further 16% stated an interested in using ad blockers, but felt their current device couldn’t support it.

In the UK, 72% are employing ad blockers on laptops, 41% on desktops, 26% on smartphones and 21% on tablets.

Pat Dermody, President, Retale, explains:

pat dermody

“Millennials are more technologically savvy. Not only are they seemingly more inclined to tune out display and banner ads while on a PC, they’re proactive in blocking them. Only 37% aren’t using some sort of ad blocker today. To more effectively connect with this group, advertisers need to focus on building relevant & engaging campaigns that reach Millenials when they are ready to interact.”

Given the growing usage of ad blocking software and apps, marketers may be getting worried. However, IAB UK findings highlight that over half of consumers are willing to turn them off to access a website if content was blocked. Clearly, publishers have caught on, as 64% of respondents stated that they had previously received notice to turn off their ad blockers. Millennials (73%) are slightly more content with disabling their software.

Respondents are willing to turn off ad blockers in exchange for content

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Source: iabuk.net

Another 20% said they were no longer using their ad blockers since they hadn’t been able to access the content they wanted.

That is good news for the industry. It proves that measures encouraging people to turn off their ad blockers are working. Just like rewarded ads, publishers can view their content as a reward for users not adopting blockers.

Guy Phillipson, CEO, IAB UK, says:

guy phillipson

“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. 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.”

Creating an advertising landscape that is non-disruptive to the end user is still key. 45% of people said they would be less likely to ad-block if ads didn’t interfere with an activity or if there were fewer ads on the page (29%) and if ads were more relevant (12%).

Dermody adds:

“Advertisers can’t afford to ignore mobile ad blocking. As adoption expands, brands will need to factor these potential obstacles into their digital marketing strategy. In a separate study, we found that 60% of those who’ve clicked on mobile banner ads say they did so accidentally, with nearly 70% calling the clicks were annoying. People want to block mobile banner ads just as they’ve done with desktop ads, but the awareness around mobile ad blocking solutions and the technology itself isn’t quite there yet.”