Ad blocking has taken a sharp rise in the UK with those utilising some form of the software rising from 18 per cent of web browsers in October, to 22 per cent.
A survey of 2,049 adults conducted by the IAB and YouGov 19-22 February 2016, found that ad blocking was at its highest among 18-24 year olds, sitting at 47 per cent. Conversely, 45-54 year olds were the least likely to utilise a means of blocking digital ads.
Almost two thirds of those blocking ads reported that they had received a notice from a website asking them to turn off their ad blocker, a trend which was kicked off in the UK last year with City AM becoming the first UK publisher to openly ask to be added to the software’s whitelist.
The move was indicative of a wider growing trend of publishers informing readers that their ad blocking habits are damaging their revenue raising abilities.
Over half (54 per cent) of respondents said they would switch off their ad blocker if a website said it was the only way to access content.
Almost three-quarters (73 per cent) of 18-24 year olds indicated they would do this too – showing that ad blocking is most prevalent among this group, as is the willingness to lower the barrier for trusted publishers. A further fifth of people who’d downloaded an ad blocker no longer use it.
Guy Phillipson, IAB UK’s chief executive, said: “The IAB believes that an ad funded internet is essential for providing revenue to publishers so they can continue to make their content, services and applications widely available at little, or no cost.
“Part of the solution to tackle ad blocking lies in making consumers more aware of the consequences, which seems like it’s starting to filter through. If they realise it means they can’t access content or that to do so requires paying for it, then they might stop using ad blockers. It requires reinforcing this ;trade-off’ message – ads help to fund the content they enjoy for free.”
Just last month GlobalWebIndex released data indicating that mobile ad blocking especially surged in the final quarter of 2015, with 36.7 per cent of mobile users globally claiming they had blocked a mobile ad – up over ten per cent year-on-year.