- Ad blockers are now used by ~5% of total internet users and climbing. For the past several years, the use of ad-block software has been a fringe behavior that publishers and advertisers didn't need to think much about. That is starting to change. In the US and Europe, the percentage of online audiences who use ad blockers is several times higher.
- The proportion of internet users who install ad-block software is growing quickly. The number of people who have used ad blocking software globally on desktop and mobile grew 69% year-over-year in the second quarter of 2014 to 144 million people.
- This is mostly a PC-based phenomenon: Very few people use ad-block tools on the mobile web. Ad blocking is not available on all popular mobile web browsers and it's not as easy to implement. However, it's probably only a matter of time before the technology migrates to mobile.
- Both advertisers and publishers stand to lose from ad-block software installed on desktop browsers. Typically, a blocked ad is still counted as "served," because the standard practice in the digital-ad space is to count ads when a call is made to fetch the ad from servers, rather than tally how many ads were actually loaded and shown on the site. This means advertisers might be paying for ad impressions that aren't actually delivered. Publishers can lose out if they charge advertisers on a performance basis (e.g., according to the number of clicks).
- One piece of software, Adblock Plus, has amassed a huge global user base. Adblock is used as an "extension" or add-on to popular web browsers such as Firefox or Chrome. Adblock Plus alone is used by ~2% of global internet users.
- The company behind Adblock Plus collects fees from major digital-ad players to unblock their ads. Cologne, Germany-based Eeyo runs a whitelist of acceptable ads, and it appears that major ad-serving platforms are paying fees to help them land on that list.
Several weeks ago, we noted that several major tech companies are paying considerable sums to the company behind Adblock Plus, a popular ad-block tool, to let their ads be seen. The companies included Google, Microsoft, Amazon, and Taboola — a content-marketing platform company that creates "sponsored content" links based on readers' interests. The exact amount of [...]