March 4, 2016

Five things we learnt at the IAB’s Ad Blocking Seminar

We had the opportunity to speak at the IAB’s State of the Nation Ad Blocking Seminar where our UK Managing Director, Justin Taylor presented our ‘Profile of an Ad Blocker’ research. So here are five things we learnt from the day.


Ad blocker adoption is on the rise

We knew this from our own ad blocking research but the IAB have this week released wave 4 of their research with YouGov. They found that 22% of the population (out of 2000 surveyed) are currently using ad blocking software which was a rise from 18% since October 2015. This is largest among the age group 18-24 who are up 12% points since October 2015.

IAB members can download the whole deck  here.


People are prepared to turn off ad blockers

1 in 6 surveyed switched off their ad blocker to access certain types of content.

Among the audience aged 18 – 34 this becomes 73% which indicates that they are appreciative of the value exchange.


Are we being too pessimistic?

Google’s Thomas Schreiber presented research by Deloitte which suggests that ad blocking penetration on mobile will be just 0.3% in 2016. To put this in perspective this is less than £70 million of the £50 billion mobile advertising market put at risk.


Legal implications of ad blockers

The General Data Protection Legislation comes into force in the UK in 2018. There are notable changes such as the need for ‘unambiguous’ consent for data collection, usage and general marketing.

For companies not complying they run the risk of running up huge fines – €20 million or 4% of annual world wide turnover. We’re sure there’s much more to come on this and the impact that it will have on the marketing industry – watch this space for our views.

How do ad blockers come into this? One point raised at the seminar was competition law. If an ad blocking software company comprises 35-40% of all users then this is a tipping point and could affect how they continue to operate.


Ad blockers block more than just ads

Oriel offer publishers solutions to ad blocking, part of which is deep analytics. They offered insights into the sources of ad blocking, noting that new browsers are being built which sees ad blocking built by default.

They referred to ad blocking as a ‘blunt instrument’. With it activated users can’t access a lot of content on the web – not just ads. Their CEO, Aidan Joyce noted that with his ad blocker active he was unable to check-in online with BA. Ad blockers also mean that analytics like comScore, Nielsen and Google Analytics are unable to operate.


Once again it was a pleasure to speak at the IAB and share our knowledge.

Later in the year the IAB will be announcing recommendations for publishers and a charter for best practise. Through collaborative action and a commitment towards better formats we can all (publishers, advertisers, agencies and tech providers) ensure a future for sustainable advertising.

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