The Who And The What Of Ad Blocking

impact ad

By: Brittany Barillaro, Account Marketing Associate


Globally, the rise in ad blocking grew 41% year-over-year, with 16% of the U.S. online population blocking digital ads during Q2 2015—equating to 45 million people refusing digital and mobile advertising.

The effects of ad blocking are substantial, with an estimated $10.7 billion loss for the industry in 2015. 

So, the question remains—what will marketers do differently to navigate the digital and mobile advertising landscape in 2016? Some marketers are fighting fire with fire by blocking users with ad blocker extensions
from viewing their content. But this a short term solution with a long term goal of addressing issue with the
ad experience itself.


Ad blocking behavior on websites is a direct reflection of audience demographics. Websites with a higher penetration of young, tech-savvy, or male audiences are more greatly affected. When it comes to the impact of ad blocking, here is who’s leading the pack:

  • Oregon has the highest ad blocking rate in the United States, at 16.4%.
  • Washington, DC has the lowest ad blocking rate in the United States, at 8.2%.
  • Visitors to gaming websites are more likely to block advertising.
  • Visitors to health, charity, and government/legal websites are less likely to use web ad blockers.

Google Chrome is still the key driver behind ad block growth, as usage increased by 51% year-over-year among Chrome users. It’s now at 126 million average active monthly users—compared to Firefox (48 million) and Safari (9 million).


At this point, there is not much online marketing companies can do about ad blocking technology itself. However, clients and brands should use this opportunity to re-think their consumer messaging strategy. Each of these tactics offers a softer sell compared to traditional advertising:

  • Brands should consider more native advertising opportunities that live organically within desirable content, or ensure that their ad message is as relevant as possible to the consumers they’re trying to reach.
  • Influencer marketing will help you connect with the ever-elusive millennial audience. Today’s consumers put their trust in their peers, experts, and trendsetters to guide their purchase decisions. Influencer marketing is the process of identifying and partnering with key people who have influence over your potential consumers.

In addition, digital marketers should focus on conversion metrics more than impressions. Ad blockers may affect your impressions number for display advertisers, making you think they saw your ad when they really didn’t.

Today, users are more than just content consumers—they‘re now in control of which messages they receive, and when. Advertisers need to keep this in mind throughout their online marketing strategies and campaign execution to win against ad blocker software in 2016.