Surge in ad-blocking software spells trouble for publishers


Use of ad-blockers has surged by 70% over the last year

The mainstream media’s migration to the internet has been a difficult transition marked by a struggle to find a sustainable business model.

While some internet users now pay for services in the form of subscriptions, such as for access to the Times, or to Netflix, the greater part of what is available for “free” online is funded through advertising.

But there is growing concern among publishers that many people will not see advertisements due to the surge in usage of ad-blocking software.

According to research by PageFair and Adobe, the surge in ad-blocking is changing the web fast.

The report says that in the second quarter of 2014 there were “approximately 144 million monthly active adblock users globally (4.9% of all internet users); a number which has increased 69% over the previous 12 months.”

Google Chrome users are leading the charge, with 96% installing ad-blockers between Q2 2013 and Q2 2014.

According to the FT, there is no consensus in the advertising industry for how to combat people’s desire to escape online advertising.

The paper previously reported that some larger internet companies have bought their way out of the predicament, with Google, Amazon and Microsoft having paid Eyeo, the German firm behind Adblock Plus, to allow their adverts to remain visible while the software is running.

Elsewhere, on demand video-streaming sites such as those of ITV and Channel 4, will not allow users with ad-block software to view their content. The problem here is that while some agree to temporarily turn off their ad-block software, most simply leave the website, the FT reports.

As the numbers of people using ad-blocking software rise, the value of online advertising will be hit.

As a result, media companies are increasingly looking for a way round the blockers.

The fight is on, but who will win when people have come to expect free content online and won’t accept advertising?

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