Adblocking software such as Adblock Plus is witnessing a dramatic rise in users as the software shifts to mobile
Online publishers could lose out on $21.8 billion (£14.1bn) of advertising revenue in 2015 due to the increasing use of ad blocking software, according to a new report from anti-adblock startup PageFair and Adobe.
Ad blocking, which sees web users download software or use browser add-ons to prevent internet ads from being shown on web pages, cost an estimated $5.8 billion in lost revenue in 2014 in the United States alone, a figure which is expected to reach $10.7 billion in 2015 and $20.3 billion in 2016.
The global cost of ad blocking is expected to reach $41.4 billion (£27bn) by 2016.
The report suggests the number of ad block users worldwide has increased by 41 percent in the past 12 months to 198 million monthly active users.
“It is tragic that ad block users are inadvertently inflicting multi-billion dollar losses on the very websites they most enjoy,” said PageFair boss Sean Blanchfield.
The report, titled “The Cost of Adblocking”, claims that in the United States, ad blocking grew by 48 percent between Q2 2014 and Q2 2015 to 45 million monthly active users. That number is approximately 16 percent of the U.S. online population.
In Europe, ad blocking grew by 35 percent during the same period to 77 million monthly users.
Software vendor Adobe is backing PageFair in its attempts to stem the online revenue hemorrhage.
“By working with PageFair, our goal with this research is to shed light on the effects of ad blocking so the industry can develop better solutions for content publishers, advertisers and consumers alike,” said Campbell Foster, a director of product marketing at Adobe.
Both firms agree that ad blocking now poses an existential threat for future of free content on the web.
The report further explains that ad blocking, which has been concentrated on desktop browsers, is now spreading to mobile in Asia. This trend will likely accelerate globally in September when the ability to block ads is introduced to iOS.