Consumer ad blocking has climbed 30% within the last year, according to PageFair’s ‘2017 Adblock Report’, and on mobile it’s posing a larger threat than expected.

By the end of 2016, 615 million devices were blocking ads globally while 62% of these were on mobile. The majority of this growth can be attributed to the software’s growing adoption in Asia-Pacific, where 94% of mobile ad blocking takes place.

In India, where its use is most severe, three out of five (59%) consumers have an ad blocker installed on their smartphone.

Results of the report will be alarming to a growing number of companies that are making decisive moves into APAC in order to capitalise on the region’s rapid digital advertising growth, which eMarketer has predicted to overtake North America within the next year.

Security concerns

When it comes to the reasoning behind installing these programmes, 30% of users cited security concerns over exposure to malicious malware and viruses, while 29% claimed their browsing experiences were interrupted by advertising.

PageFair’s CEO and co-founder, Sean Blanchfield, stands firm on the belief that the answer to stemming the rise of ad blockers lies in addressing “legitimate” consumer grievances. He adds, however, that publishers must make continued innovations into “tamper-proof” ad technology.

“This is precisely what Facebook has done. The platform now attributes significant revenue growth to having taken this step, and we estimate it will net a further three quarters of a billion on the blocked web in 2017,” said Blanchfield.

“Publishers are now following suit, listening to users’ legitimate grievances, fixing those problems, and then serving ads using tamper-proof technology.”

Ad block walls

What’s been a key tool for publishers, ad block ‘walls’ which requires users to temporarily disable their programmes in order to view content, has according to the report, had limited success.

Of the users surveyed, PageFair found that just one in four (26%) disabled the software when confronted with this requirement, while the remainder (74%) claimed to leave the website as a response. However, the rate reduced to 64% for users between the age of 18-34.

As a result of the findings, the report called the method “ineffective” at reducing ad block usage at “any significant rate” unless the site in question has valued content that cannot be obtained elsewhere.

In terms of which ads are served, however, it appeared that not all ads are created equal; 77% of users deemed certain formats “permissable”, with static banner ads and skippable video ads currying more favour than interruptive auto-play video and non-skippable video ads. Native advertising garnered a neutral response from those surveyed.