It’s war out there. In the escalating arms race of Advertiser vs Adblocker; its one battle, particularly with the millennials that the Advertisers appear to be losing.

Apps are the last fortress of hope against the adblockers. But do allow me to frame the problem.

According to Global Web Index, Adblocking on desktops is utilised by up to 40% of users globally, this number is around 30% on mobile, ranging from around 16% for users in Europe to a whopping 42% of mobile users in China. This can lead to some fairly significant impacts for content owners who are dependent on advertising for their bread and butter. It should be no surprise that the younger generations who are the biggest users of such technology.

According to Adback (via eMarketer), the website loses nearly $22m per year in lost advertising to Adblockers. For YouTube this is an astounding $219m per year!

I’m not going to jump up and admonish adblockers though – people have their reasons for using them. How many times have you tried to open a webpage, for you to be attacked by hundreds of rather intrusive banners/ads and in the end – the content you wanted to see doesn’t even load. Some ads are loud, play movies and music, and hence consume bandwidth. For those on metered plans – this is a critical element. It’s worth going back to the GWI analysis to see what the primary reasons are for Adblocking. See how many you agree with:


  • Too many ads are annoying or irrelevant
  • Ads take up too much screen space and get in the way
  • I think there are too many ads on the internet
  • I find online ads intrusive
  • I want to speed up the time it takes for things to load on my mobile
  • I want to stop the data allowance on my phone from being used up by ads
  • I don’t like seeing video ads before I’m allowed to watch video content/clips
  • I’m concerned about ads compromising my online privacy
  • I try to avoid ads wherever possible, whether on TV or online
  • I want to stop the battery life on my phone from being drained by ads
  • I don’t like ads which are personalised based on my browsing history


Moderation is key – most people understand that many of the freemium based business models depend on advertising in order to be able to cover the costs (and make a profit) from producing the content. And this shows in the data that GWI has collected:


Ad-blockers are not content pirates – it’s actually 65% of this audience who are purchasing some form of digital content on a monthly basis. With 1 in 5 paying for a movie/TV streaming service, it’s clear that this audience is willing to part with their cash for the right type of content.

Source: GWI Insight Report on Adblockers Q3 2016

It’s important to realise the concerns of users when promoting advertising material – take note of the list of primary reasons why adblockers are used in the first place. Adback works with their clients to try to work through such issues, offering choice to readers who, being rational (on the whole), acknowledge that content costs need to be covered.

So what about Mobile Apps?

There were some scary times back in Q4 2015 when Apple approved an Adblocker App into its App Store. “Been Choice” was for some reason approved – then thankfully for the industry – removed from the App Store. Both Apple and Google have a policy of not allowing adblockers into their respective App Stores. It makes sense for their respective business models.

Problem solved right? Not 100% no. There will always be developments in an arms’ race which render the competitions’ technology obsolete. There are still Adblocker Apps which can be installed, however commonly the installation is via the back-end. Via the APK file for Android, and via Jailbreak on Apple. And of course some App Store approved solutions are still getting through (both iOS and Android).

Apps are definitely afforded a higher protection from Adblockers – this is another point for Native Apps in the App vs HTML discussion. For content owners – publishers – the decision should be clear. If you want a discussion on the subject of Adblockers, or how to maximise advertising revenue – whilst retaining a positive user experience then drop your contact details to us. Reactive DPS can help you navigate these potential issues.