Ad blocking might be a bigger issue in India than many in the digital advertising industry are willing to admit, if a report by PageFair is to be believed.
The report states that mobile ad blocking is most popular in emerging markets, such as China, India, Pakistan and Indonesia. As per the report, 36 per cent of smartphone users in Asia-Pacific are blocking ads on the mobile web, as compared to 22 per cent of the world’s 1.9 billion smartphone users who are blocking ads on the mobile web. In March 2016, the Asia-Pacific region had 55 per cent of global smartphone users, but 93 per cent of adblocking browser usage.
India is just behind China in terms of monthly active users of ad blocking browsers. As of March 2016, India saw 122 million monthly active users as compared to China with 159 million MAUs. The third country in the list, Indonesia, had just 38 million users by comparison.
The report further states that in March 2016, 408 million people used an ad blocking browser on their smartphones, while ad blocking browser usage nearly doubled during 2015. Despite this, the report says that mobile ad blocking is less developed in North America and Europe.
More importantly, the report further states that with readily available mobile ad blocking technologies, the next billion internet users may be invisible to digital marketers.
It should be noted that PageFair does earn money by working with publishers to find ways to deliver ads around ad blockers.
However, the 2016 State of Internet report also states that ad blocking is becoming an increasingly serious issue, with mobile ad blocking usage far outstripping desktop usage, maybe because of the increase in smartphone users globally.
Interestingly, an earlier 2016 prediction by consultancy firm Deloitte Global predicted a mere 0.3 per cent of all mobile device owners (comprising smartphones and tablets) will use an ad blocker by 2016-end. This is likely to put less than $100 million (0.1 percent) of the $70 billion mobile advertising market at risk.
“The focus on app-based usage on a mobile device is likely to be a key reason why the relatively large-scale adoption of ad-blocking technology that has been experienced on PCs will not be replicated on mobile,” the report stated.
However, in-app ad blocking is now possible, says the PageFair report, which means that the situation might well turn out to be very different by the end of 2016.