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The Resource Center / Ad Blocking

Ad Blocking FAQ

Answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about ad blocking. You can also refer to the 2015 Ad Blocking Report from Adobe and PageFair here.

How common is ad blocking?

It is estimated that there are 198 million active ad blocker users around the world, but they are most common in Europe. In the U.S. there are about 45 million monthly active users in the United States, and 77 million in Europe.

Why are users turning to ad blocking technology?

Misuse of personal data, and an increase in the number of ads are the most widely cited reasons why internet users would start using an ad blocker. Page load time, and data usage are also often reported as concerns, especially for mobile users. Intrusive ads that disrupt the browsing experience have also been blamed for the rise of ad blocking.

Why is ad blocking a problem for publishers?

It has been estimated that the global costs of ad blockers will be $41.4 billion in 2016, taking a large chunk out of ad-supported media’s revenue. While this number is likely exaggerated for a number of reasons, it is not debated that ad blocking is costing publishers billions of dollars. With the number of users who use ad blocking technology continuing to grow, so will the financial impact. Importantly, there is not a significant impact on advertisers as the typical ad blocker prevents from the ads from being served and therefore not billed by the publishers.

What are some ways that publishers are fighting ad blocking technology?

There has not yet been a unified response to ad blockers. Some publishers have aimed to improve the ad experience, or used non-traditional formats like native ads, to encourage users to engage with their ads instead of blocking them. Others have prevented users employing ad blockers from accessing content. Requesting—or even paying—to be whitelisted by ad blockers is another approach.

What is “whitelisting”?

Most ad blocking software providers maintain lists of websites that can serve ads to users, even those who are using ad blockers. These are called “whitelists.”

How can I get my ads whitelisted?

When dealing with Ad Block Plus, one of the most popular ad blockers on the market, web users can choose to allow “Acceptable Ads.” Those ads must meet certain criteria. They cannot disrupt the users’ reading flow, must be recognizable as ads, and must meet size criteria. There are additional criteria for specific ad formats. If your ads meet this criteria, you can apply to have your ads whitelisted. At a certain volume, an entity must pay ad block plus for whitelisting by way of a revenue sharing deal. For obvious reasons, this beneficial gain based on yield has resulted in the Ad Block Plus program being incredibly controversial.

How does an Ad blocker replace ads?

A new browser announced to come to marketing, Brave, will have ad blocking software built into it. The browser will detect where ad should go and fill them with new (approved) programmatic advertising.

How does Ad blocking at the data server level work?

Ad blocking technology company, Shine, offers ad blocking at a carrier level. The carrier will install ad blocking tech in their data centers and then give smartphones owners the option to sign up for the service. This along with enterprise installation by network managers are considered the highest risk to accelerated adoption of ad blocking.