The interest in ad blocking from online consumers is growing fast, according to new reports, despite the fact that a lot of confusion still remains on the subject from all sides.
A new study by Tune found that 24.6% of 4,000 respondents to a survey on ad blocking said they had downloaded an ad blocking app.
And this percentage is growing, jumping three-fold in the past three months.
Tune found that although only 2.4% of its 4,000 respondents said they installed an ad blocking app or browser in the previous 4-6 months, 7.8% said they had done so very recently.
And if this growth continues at this rate, then mobile users who have installed ad blockers will be in the majority in late 2016, and breach the 80% benchmark in the third quarter of 2017.
However as Tune noted, just because people downloaded ad blockers, that does not mean they are actively using the software – indeed after ad blocking app Peace was first released last year and quickly rose to the top of the iOS charts, the app was later pulled from the store, and is not being updated.
This is also shown by the fact that 21% of survey respondents weren’t even sure if they had downloaded an ad blocker.
Ad blocker demographics
Regarding the data on who is installing the software, Tune found that for age, it was “an almost perfectly representative demographic slice”, with no standout data, apart from the fact that ad blocking mobile users skew slightly to young and middle-aged adults.
For the split between men and women, men block ads “a touch more” than women, with women reporting being less sure whether they had installed ad blocking apps or not.
Other interesting insights from Tune’s report include that a common misconception is that users download ad blockers because they are paranoid about advertising, privacy and being tracked – for many it is much more about user experience.
But as Tune said, this recent surge in interest in ad blocking over the last three months is something that should concern publishers and marketers, especially if this trend keeps increasing throughout the year.
The company also gives marketers some tips on how to counteract this trend, such as leveraging other channels and using more native advertising.
As Andrew Frank, VP and Analyst at Gartner said: “This is an ongoing cat-and-mouse game. The big game I’m seeing from the advertiser side is server-side integration/stitching, which evades ad blockers … this will limit the effectiveness of ad blocking significantly.
“I think we are moving into the empire strikes back phase … the more you try to block the ads, the smarter they get about avoiding the blocking.”
Read the full Tune report here.