A report created by Adobe and PageFair (which creates anti-ad blocking solutions) has put a price tag on the problem of ad blockers. Think they’re only a minor nuisance? Think again. The report estimates that blockers will lead to $21.8 billion in lost ad revenue worldwide in 2015. The Unites States alone will lose $10.7 billion in ad revenue this year, a sizable jump from the $5.8 billion it lost in 2014.
Blockers will cost the online industry $41.4 billion by 2016, the report predicts.
Ad blocker use grew by 48 percent between Q2 2014 and Q2 2015. In the U.S., 16 percent of internet users have an ad blocker installed.
Ad blockers have so far been a desktop problem, but the report says they’re beginning to be used on mobile devices in Asia. The report predicts that mobile blockers will go global in September, when iOS 9 will let users download and install ad blocking software from the App Store.
The report breaks down blocker use and comes up with some interesting takeaways: In the U.S., Oregonians are most likely to block ads (16.4 percent); in Europe, Greeks have the highest rate (36.7 percent). The gaming industry is by far the hardest hit by blockers, and most blockers are installed on Chrome browsers.
Why do people turn to ad blockers? The most popular answer is that users don’t trust ad companies to use their personal information responsibly. Users don’t see what they’re doing as theft, but as a way to protect their privacy against sophisticated marketing tactics. For Adobe, those fears are understandable.
“Consumers use ad blockers for legitimate and understandable reasons,” notes Campbell Foster, director of product marketing for Adobe Primetime. “Pop-up ads are annoying. Retargeting can get creepy quickly. Ads can slow down page loading and disrupt the viewing experience. If you read the comments section in today’s New York Times article, there is genuine vitriol directed at intrusive advertising practices. As an industry, we’ve just got to do better.”
For much more, download “The Cost of Ad Blocking” for free (no registration required).