I am a bit preoccupied with ad blocking at the moment, but there is a reason for it.
Since reading The Cluetrain Manifesto in a hotel room in SF many years ago, I’ve been a firm believer in the rise of the power of the consumer. Markets are conversations, and the conversations of the consumers will ultimetely shut out any shouting the brands can do.
Consumers have found ways to bypass invasive and annoying ads, first with PVRs vastly reducing the effectiveness of TV commercials, now with online ad blockers rapidly achieving mainstream status.
The 2015 PageFair report shares some fascinating numbers.
- Ad blocking estimated to cost publishers nearly $22 billion during 2015.
- There are now 198 million active adblock users around the world.
- Ad blocking grew by 41% globally in the last 12 months.
- US ad blocking grew by 48% to reach 45 million active users in 12 months up to June 2015.
- UK ad blocking grew by 82% to reach 12 million active users in 12 months up to June 2015.
Those are big numbers. Add to this the recent arrival of ad blocking on iOS and they will only continue to grow. As I am typing this, the three top paid apps in the Apple iTunes store are ad blockers for Safari.
Think about it: people pay money, so they don’t have to look at ads. They pay money to regain their privacy. They pay money to stop being tracked.
That’s not behaviour that happens overnight. That’s behaviour triggered by the bad behaviour of the ad industry.