Another year, another 41% increase in global adoption of online ad blockers. PageFair and Adobe‘s 2015 Ad Blocking Report, released Monday, says there are now 198 million active monthly users of adblocking software.
PageFair, a Dublin-based technology company that’s devoted to helping publishers fight ad blocking, publishes an annual report that has become the industry’s de facto benchmark for the rate of online ad blocking globally.
This year, blocked ads will cost publishers on the order of $22 billion globally, PageFair estimates. It’s a much bigger problem in Europe, where PageFair counts 77 million people blocking ads each month. In the U.S., only 16% of the online population use an ad blocker — though that’s still 45 million people, a number that’s grown 48% since last year.
Canadian marketers might be surprised to learn that our market has shown more enthusiasm for ad blocking than their counterparts to the south. PageFair tracked 6.5 million active users in Canada, which at 20% of the online population is a significantly higher penetration than in the U.S. (Though it’s still a long way behind the world’s ad blocking leaders, Greece and Poland, where more than a third of online users have the technology installed.)
Ad blocking is much more popular with a specific demographic — 18-34 males — which means it’s a bigger problem for advertising categories that target that audience. Gaming is by far the hardest hit, accounting for 26.5% of all blocked ads. Social networks, tech sites, education, sports and financial services are also among the more heavily impacted industries, while travel, health, dating and charitable organizations have less of a problem.
And since the people who install ad blockers tend to be heavy internet users, they have an outsized impact on publishers’ bottom lines. Though the total number of ad blocker subscribers only accounts for 6% of the global online population, the loss they generate is roughly equivalent to 14% of global ad spend.
PageFair estimates that thanks to growing interest in ad blockers in the U.S., and the potential that Apple will be including ad blocking capabilities in the next version of its mobile browser, the cost to publishers globally will nearly double by 2016, to $41.4 billion.