Ad blocker usage surged 30% in 2016, according to a new report from PageFair, a company that helps publishers regain revenue lost to the software.
There were 615 million devices blocking ads worldwide by the end of 2016, 62% (308 million) of those mobile. Desktop ad blocker usage grew 17% year-on-year to 236 million… More at Business Insider.
We all know that bad websites and over-intrusive advertisers are part of the problem, but I am fairly sure that the majority of people who use ad blockers do so because they can. They speed up websites, they make them look cleaner and there are many other benefits.
I am also fairly sure that this kind of activity will kill off all but the very biggest content only websites if it continues. As an example, if Lost In Mobile suddenly gained thousands and thousands of readers each day and I placed a single advert on the site, what would happen?
The advertiser would quite rightly want to see some metrics to understand if the money they spend is worthwhile and if they end up seeing a much lower number of readers that there actually is, they will not advertise again.
Some people say that subscriptions and protected sites are an alternative, but the reality is that most websites rely on traffic and that ad blockers effectively kill that traffic in a commercial sense.
What are we to do?