Ad blocking, which was once treated as a mortal threat to publishers, has now become a chronic condition: They might die with it, but they’re more likely to have been killed by other causes.
The good news: ad blocking rates appear to have flattened — and crucially haven’t yet made the leap to mobile, where most traffic growth is happening. Still, publishers are not exactly in the mood for popping corks of champagne. Besides being beset by a host of challenges– the rise of the Google-Facebook duopoly to an over-dependence on platforms to a depressed digital ad market — ad blocking is still seen as a menace.
Incisive Media has reduced ad blockers from 25 percent to 9 percent on its tech title, The Inquirer, by restricting content for those with blockers installed. Now the ad blocking rate has leveled off. It’s a similar story for other publishers taking a muscular approach, as they, too, for the most part are no longer seeing a growth in ad blocking. One reason for the dip is that readers are shifting to mobile, where installing ad blockers through web browsers is more complicated. And, importantly, up to 90 percent of time on mobile is spent in apps, where ads can’t be blocked.