Ad blocking is already a common behavior among internet users. Digital publishers see between 5% to as many as 40% of their readers using ad-block software, according to a number of publishers that spoke with BI Intelligence.
Ad-block usage rates vary greatly depending on content type and audience demographics. Publishers whose audience skews toward young males, such as video game sites, tend to see much higher ad-block usage compared with general news sites.
Ad-block usage rates also vary by geography, but even in the US, where ad blocking has been slower to catch on, usage rates hover around 15%, according to PageFair data cited by Digiday.
Ad blocking poses a major threat to digital media companies that depend on advertising for revenue. Google alone lost out on $6.6 billion in ad revenue globally last year, according to PageFair estimates. If ad blocking on mobile reaches desktop levels, US digital media companies could lose out on as much as $9.7 billion across digital ad formatsnext year, according to BI Intelligence estimates based on current usage rates.
Ad blocking may become even more common with the release of Apple's widely used desktop and mobile operating systems later this year. The operating systems will feature a framework that makes it significantly easier for developers to create ad-blocking software, particularly on mobile. This has stoked fears that ad-block usage will rise sharply among Apple users.
Ad blockers typically use one of two methods to prevent ads from loading. In most cases, ad blockers prevent the loading of digital ads that are served by a list of known ad servers. Blocked ads typically include display, video, social, and search ad units that appear in web browsers. A less common tactic involves masking ads that have already been loaded.
Apple's new framework differs from other ad-block software because it enables developers to use content-blocking tools already built into the Safari web browser to block ads, according to an analysis by AppleInsider. This means that developers will be able to create ad-block software that consumes less system resources, making the software easier to implement and run on mobile devices, thus [...]