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UK publishers lose nearly £3 billion revenue annually due to ad blocking

OnAudience.com, part of the Cloud Technologies S.A. group, which provides Big Data tools and services for online marketing in over 40 markets, has launched a global report into ad blocking. The study reveals that the UK has one of the highest rates of ad blocking worldwide (39%), accounting for a loss of more than £2.9B ($3.9B) in publisher revenue in 2017, a 15% increase on the £2.5B loss in 2016.

According to the OnAudience.com report, the UK contributes an estimated £4.5B ($6B) to the $100B global display market. It also found that internationally, the loss of publisher revenue from ad blocking has risen to $42B from $28B in 2016, when the worldwide display market value was $84B.

The results from the UK reflect a broad trend across the European market where consumers are more likely to block ads, with almost a third (32%) of internet users in the region utilising ad blocker plugins. Poland was found to have the highest ad blocking rates at 46%, followed by Greece (44%), Norway (42%), Germany (41%), and Denmark (40%). The Netherlands and Ireland were identically ranked to the UK, with 39% of page views blocking ads.

However, the adoption of ad blockers across the globe is not so prevalent. The USA and Japan recorded ad blocking rates of just 26%, where education and awareness of ad blockers is high, but consumers choose not to use them. The lowest rates were found in LATAM, with Paraguay recording the lowest rates of ad blocked page views (5%), while Peru and Venezuela scored the second and third lowest ad blocking rates globally (13% and 10% respectively).

The OnAudience.com report also demonstrates the impact of ad blocking on the e-commerce industry, reporting that a third (32%) of consumers visiting e-commerce sites in Europe have an ad blocker installed. A similar proportion (34%) of page views are generated by shoppers who use ad block plugins and have started the purchasing process in an online store.

In total, almost two in five (38%) of online shoppers who complete an online transaction do not see an ad before purchasing – this indicates that ad blocking represents a significant lost opportunity for advertisers to reach a receptive audience. OnAudience.com’s data also found the value of the global e-commerce market exceeds $2,000B, of which more than $600B is generated by users with ad blockers. In the UK e-commerce turnover accounted for £11.9B ($15.7B), of which £46.4B ($61.4B) is generated by users with an ad blocker installed.

“There has been much discussion calling for advertising to provide a better user experience, but this report clearly shows that not enough is being done as ad blocking rates continue to rise – causing a significant loss for publishers and the advertising industry as a whole,” commented Maciej Sawa, Chief Commercial Officer at OnAudience.com. “Ultimately user experience is key, so it is extremely important for the entire digital marketing industry to keep the consumer in mind and ensure that their journey is relevant, contextual, and meaningful ­– if we are to ever convince them not to install ad blockers .”

The full OnAudience.com report can be downloaded here.