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Ad blocking is one of the hottest topics in digital marketing today. Based on eMarketer’s latest forecast of ad blocking user growth, there is good reason for digital publishers and marketers to be worried. It is a habit that, left unchecked, could well become mainstream.
As explored in the new eMarketer report, “UK Ad Blocking: A Growing Problem, and Not Just for Publishers,” the ad blocking phenomenon is gaining traction in the UK. eMarketer anticipates 20.5% of internet users, or 10.9 million people in the country, will use ad blockers in 2016. Next year, that proportion will pass one-quarter (27.0%) of UK internet users, totaling 14.7 million people.
While ad blocking is becoming increasingly widespread in the UK, it is much more common among desktop and laptop users than smartphone users. This year, there will be a nearly 46% jump in desktop and laptop ad blocking users, totaling 9.8 million or 90.2% of the country’s ad blocking user base. By 2017, almost a quarter of UK internet users will be desktop/laptop ad blocking users.
That ad blocking is threatening to enter the mainstream in the UK is rooted in deep consumer dissatisfaction with the way digital advertising has been allowed to impinge upon digital media consumption. Ever since the inception of the ad-supported internet, advertising on digital platforms has been allowed to run relatively unchecked. This has resulted in an often poor user experience as far as advertising goes. Ad blocking software is allowing internet users to voice their concerns, and the verdict is one of growing discord.
There are many reasons why people choose to use ad blocking software, from reducing visual clutter to improving site load times. However, most reasons converge around a common theme: Digital ads irritate consumers. An October 2015 YouGov survey found that a huge proportion of internet users in the UK using ad blockers said they had installed the software because “ads are annoying. ”
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