Ad blocking in the US will continue to cause headwinds for online advertisers, as the phenomenon is expected to grow by double digits this year and next. In 2016, 69.8 million Americans will use an ad blocker, a jump of 34.4% over last year. Next year, that figure will grow another 24.0% to 86.6 million people.
eMarketer defines an ad blocking user as an internet user who accesses the internet at least once a month via any device that has an ad blocker enabled. This year in the US, 26.3% of internet users—more than one in five people in general—will use an ad blocker.
“Ad blocking is a detriment to the entire advertising ecosystem, affecting mostly publishers, but also marketers, agencies and others whose businesses depend on ad revenue,” said eMarketer senior analyst Paul Verna. “The best way for the industry to tackle this problem is to deliver compelling ad experiences that consumers won’t want to block.”
Ad blocking is more common on desktops and laptops than on smartphones. This year, 63.2 million people will use an ad blocker on their desktop or laptop PC, vs. 20.7 million who will use one on their smartphone. In fact, 90.5% of ad blocking users will block ads on desktops and laptops, while just 29.7% will do so on smartphones. (There is overlap among the groups.)
“Ad blocking is more common on desktops and laptops because screen sizes are large enough to accommodate multiple ads. This includes videos that might be out of view but still audible, which are especially annoying to users,” said Verna. “Also, ad blockers typically don’t work on apps, where users spend most of their mobile internet time.”
As the use of mobile devices grows, so too will the use of mobile ad blockers. The number of people using smartphone ad blockers will jump 62.3% this year, while the number of PC-based ad blocking users will grow 30.1%.