With all the news about ad blocking that has been popping up over the past few weeks it is no surprise that many marketers are getting a little nervous. While it is certainly a concern that needs to be thought about, it might not be as big of a problem as many people would expect. According to a recent report from comScore and Sourcepoint the percentage of people who block ads is fairly low (though certainly not insignificant). Interestingly, the number varies greatly based on what country the user is from.
For example, France has the highest overall blocking rate at about 27%. That is certainly a large number, but when you think about the fact that it is the highest rate in the world it can be reassuring. In the US, only about 9% of visitors to any given site will be blocking ads. This is near the bottom of the list of the major countries looked at by the study.
Of course, the rate at which people block ads also changes based on how old they are. Younger visitors typically block at much higher rates, which indicates that this may be a growing problem over time. In the US, 16.2% of people aged 18-24 are using some type of ad blocker. You can see the full breakdown of ad blocking by age and country in this chart provided by eMarketer:
When it comes to mobile blocking, the numbers are currently even lower. Of course, that may change as more and more people upgrade to iOS9 where they can install ad blockers. In the US, however, only .1% of ad pages are blocked on mobile devices. The highest percentage is in India with a full 9%. You can see the mobile ad blocking rates by country in this chart (also from eMarketer). Take note that this chart is from July of 2015. We’ll definitely want to come back and look at this situation again in a few months.
There is no doubt that ad blocking is something of a concern for website owners and marketers of all types. It reduces the overall inventory of ads available, which will cause the prices for each ad to go up over time. In addition, if you own a site or service that relies on ad income, the more people that are blocking, the less money you can make.
For now, however, this type of data really shows that it is still not something to get too worked up over. Even on PCs where ad blocking has been easy to get and install for years, less than a quarter of users actually install the blockers. This is, hopefully, a good sign for the future of the digital advertising world. As with all things, however, we’ll have to wait and see how these numbers play out over time.