Ad blocking rates declined to 11.3% in Q3 of 2017, according to results from The Association for Online Publishing’s (AOP) two-year ad blocking audit among 14 of its members, shedding some light in ad blocking and its impact on publishers.

The audit was conducted between Q1 2016 and Q4 2017 across AOP members with the ability to monitor ad blocking rates. Findings showed that overall ad blocking levels peaked in Q2 2016 at 12.6% while the average rate during 2017 was 11.6%, compared to 12.3% in 2016.

Among publishers able to separate performance by device, across the last three quarters of 2017 the analysis identified a gradual reduction in the desktop ad blocking rate to just under three in 10 impressions (29.9%).

Blocking of ads on mobile devices was at a much lower level but has doubled across the two-year period to 1.3% in Q4 2017.

Revenue ‘lost’

While ad blocking levels fall, revenue ‘lost’ as a result of blocked ads continues to increase.

Across the AOP members covered by the audit, an estimated total of £13.7m was lost in 2017 – a 27% increase in total ‘lost’ revenue over the comparative figure in 2016.  

Meanwhile, the median annual individual publisher revenue ‘loss’ across the period was £627,996.

“These latest statistics confirm the general view across the industry that ad blocking rates have plateaued, although there is a gradual increase in its usage on mobile – which again will not come as a surprise,” said Richard Reeves, managing director at the AOP; “The audit, however, does clearly demonstrate that ad blocking continues to have an impact on publisher revenue and the issue remains high on the agenda for our members.”