Better creative remains key to combating the rise of adblocking

Better creative remains key to combating the rise of adblocking Liz Morrell is a freelance business journalist and content creator with more than 20 years writing experience, including 15 in retail and associated sectors. She is a regular contributor to MarketingTech but also covers a number of other industries in her freelance capacity. Contact her via LinkedIn or at

Adblocking remains a persistent challenge for the digital advertising industry, despite estimates this week that suggest that digital advertising revenues will almost double to $285bn by 2020. 

A new Digital News report from Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism says that one in five (21%) of the UK population are now using ad blockers – a figure that rises to nearly a third (32%) for those under 35 years of age. 

Elsewhere internationally the figures range from one in ten (10%) for Japan and 38% in the Polish market. The figures are higher worldwide for both the younger markets and those who frequently consume news content.

Regular users

The report also revealed that those that have downloaded adblockers are using them regularly – suggesting that it will take increasing effort from advertisers to persuade consumers to unblock ads. 

Currently the majority of those (92%) in markets including the UK, US and Germany use adblockers on their laptop or desktop computer but the adblocking habit is going mobile too, with a third planning to install an adblocker on their smartphone in the coming months. Less than 1 in ten (8%) of users currently use an adblocker on their smartphone. 

Although the volume of video is increasing – and is being particularly pushed by publishers and technology platforms – the report found that more than three-quarters of respondents (78%) said that they still mostly rely on text rather than video.

This is in part due to the annoyance of pre-roll advertising, highlighted by more than a third (35%) of respondents.  

‘Less junk’

David Nelson, VP product and operations Europe at Rocket Fuel, says that brands must concentrate more on ‘good’ advertising and less on junk advertising if they are to drive ad blocking down.

“The lesson is simple,” he said. “In every case advertisers should put the consumer experience first, eliminate spray and pray techniques and improve the creative quality. This consumer experience should be at the forefront of all advertising,” he said. 

But he said the rise of adblocking will also help to ignite change.

“The quality of advertising is sure to improve as both advertisers and publishers see the effects of ad blocking. Advertisers will be smarter in delivering relevant, engaging content and publishers will improve their placements, enabling brighter consumer experience,” said Nelson.

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