Ad blocking software has the potential to have a tremendous impact on the digital advertising industry, particularly as their use continues to grow. However, this is a seldom discussed topic in our industry and we decided to raise attention to the issue by sharing some high level ad blocking statistics.
Before we go too far, there are at least four reasons why consumers may choose to use ad blocking software.
- Ad removal
- Cleaner looking pages (ad space removal, not just the ad…see example below)
- Faster page loading times
- Minimized data tracking of your surfing habits
The two screenshots below show the OC Register with and without an ad blocker enabled. Not only does the ad blocker remove the ad itself, but instead of leaving white space where the ads were supposed to be delivered the ad blocker actually pushes up the appropriate content on the page. The result is not only a page without ads, but much cleaner and a better user inerface. In this case, when the ads are removed significantly more content appears above the fold resulting in a much more pleasing user interface.
Ad blockers maintain the number one positions in both the Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox extension download centers. The leading ad blocker in each platform has almost 50% more downloads/users than the second most popular extensions. The fact that each of these extensions has remained in their top position for a while and that many users choose to sort extensions by popularity has likely contributed to widening download margins between these ad blockers and the second most popular extensions in each platform.
So how many people are using ad blockers? Well, the Adblock Plus extension alone averaged 11.3MM active daily users last week and averages about 8MM active daily users per day. Users from the United States represent almost 1/3 of that total. The Adblock Plus extensions has received almost 100MM total downloads since January 2006 (likely introduction date).
The table below shows how many users Chrome is reporting for the various ad blockers on their platform. The numbers shown for Firefox represent all time downloads for each of the ad blockers found on their platform. Neither platform reports on both downloads and users for all extensions. Only select extensions within Firefox, such as the Adblock Plus, have publicly available in depth statistics as shown in the image above.
Ad Blocker Usage Statistics
|Webmail Ad Blocker||11,305||WebMail Ad Blocker||371,193|
|AdBlock Chromium||4,704||Maximum AdBlock||56,000|
|Facebook Ad Block||2,115||SimpleBlock||25,698|
Total usage is difficult if not impossible to measure precisely. While we were able to easily gather statistics about Chrome and Firefox, information for Internet Explorer and Safari are not as easily found. While ad blockers can be found for both Internet Explorer and Safari (even within Apple.com), the browsers themselves are not as open in how they treat browser extensions, the category of software that ad blockers fall into.
Although Apple does not have a standard ad blockingprogram available within the Safari Extensions Gallery, they are including what might be the next phase of ad blockers, including those focused on blocking social media feeds as seen below.