The use of adblockers is a challenge for publishers that rely on advertising revenue. But a recent survey of over 5,000 internet users in the US shows acceptance of advertising that meets the less intrusive ‘Acceptable Ads’ standard is growing fast.
- The 2021 PageFair Adblock Report by Canadian ad-tech company Blockthrough says mobile adblocking grew 10% last year to reach 586 million users. Desktop adblocking grew 8% to reach 257 million users, higher than recent years due to increased home computer use driven by COVID-19 restrictions.
- Almost 40% of respondents said they began using an adblocker within the last two years; the remaining 60-plus have been long-time adblockers. The majority of users surveyed said they blocked ads to avoid bad ad experiences.
- The good news for publishers is that almost three quarters of those surveyed said they don’t mind being advertised to if the ads don’t compromise their privacy and meet certain quality standards; 63% said they would accept ‘light, non-intrusive’ advertising to support web publishers.
The rise in acceptance of ‘Acceptable Ads’ marks important progress in the area of user experience as they provide an ‘acceptable compromise’ between publishers, brands, and consumers.
- The Acceptable Ads program established a set of criteria for ads that are deemed to be less intrusive for consumers while delivering creating a way for publishers and advertisers to have ads approved for delivery to Adblock Plus users.
- According to the 2021 PageFair Adblock Report advertising meeting the Acceptable Ads criteria reached 218 million users in 2020. That represents growth of 435% on mobile over the last two years.
- 63% of top US Comscore publishers covered in the report use adblock countermeasures, up from 56% last year. But for publishers considering adblock walls or forcing audiences to pay for content, adblock users are twice as likely to accept light, non-intrusive ads.
The 2021 Adblock report says, “The increasing focus on user consent has been the driver of significant change in the advertising industry, from privacy regulations like GDPR and CCPA to Google’s looming deprecation of third-party cookies.”
The changes in advertising standards, both forced by government regulation and those adopted by platform providers are causing real upheaval throughout publishing. But much of the industry is optimistic that the focus on user consent will deliver long-term benefits to publishers.
Commentary on the recent iOS14.5 changes made by Apple outlines the problem. Following the rollout of the ‘Ask App not to Track’ button, an overwhelming overwhelming majority – 96% of US users – are opting out of app tracking.
“Pervasive user “tracking” has eroded the advertising opportunities of publishers large and small,” writes Jason Kint of Digital Content Next. But he sees future opportunities for publishers.
“When the dust settles and we take stock of the reshaped landscape, we will see that the crumbling cookie and the fall of pervasive and invasive ‘tracking’ will clear the way for our industry to build better solutions,” says Kint.
Echoing the findings of the 2021 Adblock report he says, “These will be based upon quality experiences and transparent and in-context data collection”.