Ad blocking software has become a popular tool for web users who want to avoid content that can leave their Internet connection stuck in first gear, gobble up their data and snoop on their online movements.
Talk about ad blocking has been on the rise. With its recent launch of iOS 9, Apple is allowing app developers to create content-blocking capabilities for Safari, the default browser on Apple mobile devices. In December 2015, Mozilla unveiled a content-blocking app, Focus by Firefox, that allows iPhone and iPad users to block ads and third-party website plug-ins that gather data about their online activity.
A 2015 report by PageFair and Adobe found the number of people worldwide using ad blocking software jumped by 41% from 2013 to 2014. In the United States, the use of ad blocking rose 48% year-over-year to 45 million monthly users.
The growing popularity of ad blockers is hitting advertisers, marketers and publishers where it hurts. Globally, companies lost an estimated $21.8 billion in revenue during 2015 as a result of blocked ads, according to the PageFair/Adobe report. Those losses are projected to top $41 billion in 2016, with the United States accounting for nearly half of that total.
Continuing adoption of ad blocking software “has the potential to challenge the viability of the web as a platform for the distribution of free ad-supported content,” the report’s authors noted.
Several initiatives seek to address the impact of ad blocking: