March 14

Global Ad Blocking Trends: What Digital Marketers Need to Know



The history of ad blocking software is quite old. The first browser extension that wipes out ads from websites appeared in 2006. For years, marketers and advertisers ignored the rising threat of ad blockers. Some websites took the radical decision to prevent users with an active ad blocker from accessing their content. Right now, this is not a viable solution. The most recent global ad blocking trends are in – and they are quite worrisome.

What Is the Current State of Available Ad Blocking Solutions?

Ad blocking software has evolved from simple ad-ons to desktop browsers. Many browsers started incorporating ad blocking features. Still, advertisers could rely on mobile users to serve their ads.

But not any longer since iOS version 9, which opened the gateway for mobile ad blocking solutions. Now, users can surf the web on their Apple or Android phones without seeing any ads. Moreover, ad blocking companies are now offering their own mobile browsers, which incorporate their technology.

What Happened in 2020: Current Global Ad Blocking Trends Are Available

Ad blocking trends remained steady in 2020, even if they did not demonstrate a significant increase. In the largest researched market – the USA – statistics show a growth of ad block usage from 24.9% in 2018 to 26.4% in 2020. A slight growth is expected for 2021 – taking the total percentage of US ad blocking usage to 27.

Ad blocking trends indicate that the age groups most likely to use ad blockers are:

  • 41% -18 to 24 years
  • 36.8% – 25 to 34 years
  • 35% – 12 to 17 years.

These age groups include two categories of consumers largely targeted by most B2C businesses.

As for the rest of the world, users continue to seek ways to block out ads on every online resource they browse. The numbers of monthly searches for ad blocking solutions are:

  • 1,605,060 – Europe
  • 983,400 – Asia
  • 86,860 – Oceania (includes Australia).

What Do These Global Ad Blocking Trends Mean?

Internet users want to have free access to content, without the visual and audio distractions of ads. In most of the cases, they choose to use ad blockers because:

  • They see too many ads
  • The ads displayed are annoying or irrelevant
  • The ads interfere with the reading/watching of page content
  • They fear ads may contain viruses
  • They don’t like personalised ads.

These concerns should warn marketers and advertisers that something must change in the way they try to attract leads for their businesses or clients. Here are some thoughts:

1. Embrace Native Advertising

Native ads don’t look and feel like ads. They have a format and content similar to what the platform usually offers. See Facebook ads for instance – they look like regular posts. At the same time, native ads put more accent on storytelling, on offering interesting, useful and helpful content to users.

Only a very little group of users are intent on banishing all forms of advertising from their screens – and those most likely are not among your target customers. With thoughtful and less intrusive advertising formats, you can still get your message out without alienating website visitors.

2. Join the Acceptable Ads Programme

Many ad blocking solutions (and websites that feature ad blocking technology) offer users the chance to support websites and content creators by allowing acceptable ads. These ads are less intrusive and served on select websites.

This is a form of compromise that ad blockers make because they understand that a world wide web without sources of income is not sustainable. You can reach out to the most popular ad block developers and find out how to join these programmes.

3. Take Advantage of Mobile Apps

Global ad blocking trends do not include mobile apps for one reason: this technology does not affect apps, only browsers. Therefore, you may consider having a dedicated app for your business. You can use it to sell your products, send push notifications, help customers contact you faster on their smartphone, and much more.

A lot of retailers, even smaller ones, adopt this strategy, because a mobile app is also a good addition to their online branding strategy.

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