1. How many people use AdBlock in 2016? There are two companies that frequently research adblocking traffic. First is PageFair, which published its most recent study in August 2015, in collaboration with Adobe. They estimate that, in 2015, there are 198 million global users of adblocking software. Of these individuals, there are: 43 million in the United States (15% of all American users), 18 million in Germany (25%), 5.7 million in France (10%). You can find information on adblocking penetration in other countries from PageFair’s review here. The second company is Blockmetry, which has more recent data. Based on a study conducted in August 2016, they estimate that the proportion of total users who use adblocking are higher: 31.5% in the United States 33.3% in Germany, 45.6% in France. You can get other latest numbers here.
While the estimates obviously differ significantly, I will utilize PageFair’s numbers to generate conservative estimations. Because Blockmetry sources their survey information from their clients, who installed Blockmetry’s product to measure AdBlock percentage. So there is an inherent bias in their figures (since web publishers who are already suffer from high adblocking traffic are more likely to be interested in measurement).
Creators of adblocking software also have statistics. While publishers are loosing $2 billion every month, AdBlock Plus has 500 million downloads and 50 million active users as was reported in May 2016. Ghostery, another popular plugin for blocking online advertisment has been installed over 50 million times (according to Scott Meyer, CEO of Ghostery). Adguard is said to have 12 million users. Opera browser, that have built-in adblcoker, has 60 million active users on desktops ((however we cannot determine what proportion of them are using this option). And there are many other adblocking plugins with unknown number of users.
2. How many users with adblock visit my website? Anyway, all the numbers above are average worldwide statistics. Percentage of adblocking traffic on any two websites or blogs could be very different. Adblocking rate of specific website depends on it’s niche, geography, age and background of it’s target audience. On my website the maximum is 19%, minumum 6%.
- WordPress plugins like AdBlock Detector
- Yandex Metrica (analogue of Google Analytics) has adblocking report
- blockerwall.com has built-in statistics
3. Can I block AdBlock?
You cannot block AdBlock unless you use your own ad management system. In that case you can try to change the banner image size (e.g. 500×50 instead of 468×60), host the image on your server and/or avoid using words like ‘ad’ or ‘banner’ in the banner’s filename and in the code around the ad. In other words you should ensure that the banner’s html code doesn’t look like a standard banner. Making banners using HTML5 is also a good idea.
But if you are using Google AdSense there is no practical solution to bypass adblocking software (even Facebook wasn’t successful in trying to do so).
4. How web publishers deal with adblockers, if it’s unblockable?
The advertisement industry doesn’t have one universal answer to the adblocking problem. Here is a brief overview of different approaches used by websites around the world t to deal with adblocking users:
- Native ads. Some newspapers and media sources use more native advertisement techniques (e.g. placing advertiser’s text inside article) or use their own ad managment systems. This is suitable for websites that have direct contracts with advertisers or agencies.
- Blackmailing/blocking. This is a method which detects adblockers and prompts users to disable it, or ‘whitelist the website’. They can even block content from users with adblocking software. This technique is primarily used by major publishers such as Forbes, Time Magazine, Le Figaro and others. You can see examples here. In addition, here are some WordPress plugins that will help you to create a similar alert: AdBlock Notify, NoAdblock Nice message. But remember that blocking the content in any way will increase your bounce rate, which can affect your SEO
- Paywalls. This can be used in combination with the above strategies, and is based on the “If you’re going to block ads, which are my source of revenue, pay me directly for this content” school of thought. You have the potential to earn money on paywall if your content is so brilliant that users will pay to see it. You can always test it to see how it works for your own personal situation. There are WordPress plugins (like Pay-to-View) and services for any website (like Cointest) that can put this in place.
- Alternative ads/goals for adblockers. This is the most rarely used technique, based on the ‘divide and conquer’ principle. For ‘ordinary’ users without AdBlock on their devices, you place the AdSense banner in the optimal location on your website. For adblocking users, you would place custom text-ads by affiliate programs to earn money, or a subscription form to collect more signups for your newsletter (for example). As a result you has the same revenue but you improve your social capital or mailing list. WordPress plugin for that technique is Mediator.