Confirmed: ad blockers can have a significant impact on a website publisher's income. That's according to a new report by Blockmetry, a company started by former Googler Pierre Far.

In this post, I will break down the new report and provide insight on how ad blocking is crippling the publisher revenue model of ad serving.

The Background

Far said that he became fascinated by ad blockers and analytics blockers during his last couple of years at Google. Apparently, that fascination moved him to a launch his own business as an entrepreneur.

Blockmetry is a company that acts as a "pipeline to accurately measure content blocking rates, and, optionally, react. This includes adblocking and analytics blocking."

According to the company website, "Blockmetry works by analyzing just the specific HTML where an ad expected to be placed, and also the JavaScript to see if the analytics code loaded correctly."

Blockmetry doesn't measure the number of people using ad blockers. Instead, it measures the number of blocked page views.

According to Far, that metric is best for determining "ad blocking's real impact on websites."

It should be pointed out, though, that the Blockmetry code has no way of determining why the ad or analytics was blocked. At this point, the code is only capable of determining whether or not it was blocked.

The Rise of Ad Blockers

Website users generally install ad blockers for one of two reasons.

In some cases, they simply don't want to see ads. They prefer their web-surfing experience without annoying banners and pop-ups.

In other cases, people install ad blockers because they want websites to load faster. Modern ad technology causes longer load times for most sites. That's especially true if those sites use multiple ads from different networks.

Still, publishers want to monetize their sites. To many of them, the best way to do that is by running ads.

The "Weather Report"

Blockmetry releases what it calls a periodic "weather report" that shows the percentage page views with blocked ads and analytics. The report is broken down by region and country.

The analysis doesn't go into detail about the number of users in its aggregate reporting. Instead, it just offers metrics as percentages.

And those percentages aren't encouraging to webmasters.

According to Blockmetry, almost a third (32.4%) of all pages served are blocked by ad blockers. That's from the latest measurement taken in August.

Also, 5.2% of all users blocked analytics reporting. That can have a significant impact on webmasters who conduct split testing to determine the effectiveness of page design, marketing messages, or calls to action.

It's worth noting, though, that Blockmetry can only track metrics from sites that have added its code. Websites that haven't volunteered to include the Blockmetry code snippet aren't analyzed.

As of now, Blockmetry only measures ad blockers on websites across all devices. It doesn't measure ad blockers on mobile apps.

Blockmetry's measurements also exclude traffic from bots and users who have disabled JavaScript.

The Trend Is Not a Friend

Webmasters who are trying to monetize their sites might take alarm at the high percentage of page views with blocked ads (even with the above-mentioned caveats), but they might take even more alarm at the trend line.

In May of this year, 28.5% of all page views used ad blocking technology. Now, that number stands almost 4% higher.

If that trend continues, publishers could see a significant hit on their income. They might have to look for alternative ways to monetize their sites.

Analytics blocking didn't move much, though. It was roughly the same in May, at 5.1%.

A Warning for Webmasters Across the Pond

According to Far, ad blockers reached new heights in Europe. For the first time, both Poland and Norway saw more than half of all page views hit with ad blockers in August.

They like their web surfing without ads in France as well, where 45.6% of pages served went to users running ad-blocking technology.

On the Asian continent, India boasts a whopping 44.3% block rate.

The most tolerant region of the world when it comes to accepting ads is Southeast Asia, where only 25.5% of page views are subject to ad blockers.

Ad Blocking by Device

It's not surprising that mobile devices use more ad-blocking technology. That's because many mobile users install ad blockers just to speed up page loads.

In fact, according to Blockmetry, ad blocking rates on mobile devices are about three times higher than on their desktop counterparts.

The overall mobile block rate stands at 62.9%, whereas the desktop rate takes a distant second at 21%. The tablet block rate is only 4.4%.

The data showed that percentage of ads blocked between iOS devices and Android devices is roughly the same.

For whatever reason, though, desktop users who surf the web with the Opera browser have a noticeably higher ad block rate. Far says that "43.3% of Opera desktop page views block ads, the highest desktop sub-type by a huge margin."

The analytics measured favored desktop devices, though. Of all traffic counted in the latest report, 59.6% of it came from desktop users, 30.9% came from mobile users, and just 9.5% of it came from tablet users.

What Can Publishers Do?

For publishers who see their revenue taking a nosedive because of ad-blocking technology, all is not lost.

In fact, part of Blockmetry's charter is to not only share data about ad blockers, but also to work with website owners so that they can monetize their site from users with ad-blocking technology.

Blockmetry offers three options to webmasters who want to overcome ad blockers:

Show the user a survey asking why he or she is using an ad blocker

Show a friendly message that asks the user to re-enable ads, join a mailing list, or pay for a subscription

Force an ad as a fallback option

Wrapping It Up

People use ad blockers not only to rid their web-surfing experience of annoying ads, but also so that their favorite sites load faster. Although ad-blocking technology can be a real revenue-killer, Blockmetry offers website owners a few options to generate income from their online properties.

Published on: Sep 14, 2016