Earlier this month, we told you about a report that found Google lost a whopping $US887 million from ad blocking in 2012. A new study suggests that number might just be the tip of the iceberg.
In its latest report, the ad-block tracking firm PageFair found that 22.7 per cent of ads on the 220 websites it looked at were blocked by browser extensions like AdBlock Plus. What’s more, PageFair said that if ad blocking continues growing at its current rate, the entire internet will be using some form of the service by 2018.
This is perhaps a bit over the top. As the New York Time astutely points out, PageFair makes money by helping companies avoid ad-blocking, so maximizing the threat is in the best interests of its bottom line.
Further, the data were collected only from websites that pay PageFair to track their ad-blocking rates, so it stands to reason that the websites surveyed were more likely to have been plagued by ad-blocking than the average publisher. Still, the report cited Google Trends data finding that searches for “adblock” more than doubled between July 2012 and July 2013.
The report corroborates news of the threat ad-blocking poses to online advertisers, including the industry giant Google. In March, the company blocked the AdBlock Plus app from its Google Play store. A few months later, Google became one of several firms to pay AdBlock for a free pass allowing its advertisements to appear on computers running the software.
PageFair says publishers need to take two important steps to prevent users from ignoring their ads:
Avoid using intrusive advertisements that feature distracting animations and sounds. PageFair says this is the No. 1 reason users download ad blocking extensions, and doing so only encourages more users to follow suit.
Explain to users how they pay their bills, and why it’s important for the publisher that readers see the ads. PageFair says publishers can have success openly asking users to unblock ads from their sites.
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