As Apple and Facebook continue to fight over the benefits and drawbacks of online advertising, more people are avoiding the issue entirely by blocking ads. Use of ad blockers is surging, particular on mobile devices, according to a survey published on Monday.
The number of people blocking ads on their personal computers has remained steady, with 257 million people using them by the end of 2020. The software is becoming more popular on mobile with the number doubling over the past five years – going from 282 million to 586 million by the end of 2020. The results come from the 2021 PageFair Adblock Report and data compiled by ad-tech firm Blockthrough.
Blockthrough helps businesses deal with ad blockers by offering systems that attempt to persuade users into adopting the Acceptable Ads system. While the ads aren’t as distracting as regular online ads, they still have the same criticism that they enable tracking – the issue at the heart of the battle between Apple and Facebook.
Advertising is how almost all websites make money these days, not just giants like Facebook and Google. Online advertising propelled the formation of the internet business age. However, the increased use of ad blockers and Apple taking a stance for privacy and against advertising appears to show a push back against the system.
Preventing interruptions and annoyance was the main reason for blocking ads, with 81% of survey respondents saying this was why they did it. The second most popular reason was to prevent malware, with 62% citing it as a motivation. Privacy was third, with 58%.
Blockthrough used information from Americans to estimate global useage by using the number of downloads for the ad-blocking address list from Eveo, who makes the AdBlock Plus browser extension.