The mobile ad blocking epidemic continues

Businesses whose revenue comes from mobile ads will seriously have to consider an alternative, because news just came in about a significant rise in mobile ad blocking usage.

According to a new report by PageFair, a start-up helping publishers get around ad blockers, and mobile app tracking company Priori Data, there has been a 90 per cent rise in mobile ad blocking usage, compared to the same period last year.

That amounts to a total of 420 million mobile users, worldwide, or every fifth person.

Interestingly enough, this is a trend most popular in the Eastern part of the world – in emerging markets such as Pakistan, China and India. In China, for example, there are 159 million smartphone users with mobile ad blockers installed. The conclusion is that in those markets mobile data is more expensive, forcing people to block ads in order to reduce their traffic.

On the other hand, in Europe and North America, a total of 14 million people use ad blockers – 4.3 million Americans (two per cent of all smartphone owners).

"We found the results surprising because in the West we don’t often consider what’s going on in developing countries," PageFair CEO Sean Blanchfield told The New York Times. "It’s only a matter of time until mobile ad blocking comes to the West."

"Mobile adblocking is a serious threat to the future of media and journalism in emerging markets, where people are coming online for the first time via relatively expensive or slow mobile connections," the report released this week says. "Usage in western economies is likely to grow as more manufacturers and browsers start to include adblocking as a feature."

Image source: Shutterstock/Georgejmclittle