IAB study claims 27% of Australians use adblocking technology

New research claims 27% of Australians are using adblocking technology, with fear of viruses rather than intrusive ads cited as the single biggest driver for uptake.

That number is significantly higher than previous estimates on the use of adblockers in Australia, with Group M’s Tim Whitfield saying his research showed levels at around 7.3% earlier this year, while an executive at the world’s biggest adblocker said he could not see global usage topping 28%.


Adblocker usage. Source: IAB

The figure was revealed in the Interactive Advertising Bureau’s  ‘Adblocking in Australia’ study, which saw research firm Pureprofile ask more than 1,800 people on their knowledge and experience with adblockers.

Other topline figures showed 41% of respondents did not know that adblockers were and 14% had used one in the past but did not any more.

The study claims 23% of consumers said their main reason for using one was that they are afraid of getting a virus, while only 16% found websites to have too many ads, and 12% said they find ads disruptive.

Among other findings, IAB indicated communication with consumers was the main way to change ad-blocking behaviour, with 44% of people turning off ad blockers upon request from a given website, and 27% whitelisting – allowing ads to be shown – the site for future.

News Corp adblock

News Corp has led the charge locally for publishers blocking people using the technology

Consumers said other actions that would change this behaviour included assuring the ads were safe from viruses (43%) and promising that ads will not cover content (42%).

Another key finding showed 34% of consumers would stop using adblockers when a preferred website blocked content, while 36% of consumers said they would turn off software if content was frequently blocked on websites.

In Australia, most adblockers are used on the desktop (24%) while 6% of consumers use ad-blockers on a mobile device.

The figures in the IAB’s study are ahead of the United Kingdom average, but in line with numbers from the US.


Full IAB infographic (Click to enlarge)

Vijay Solanki, CEO of IAB said the Australian industry must address the results. “As an industry it’s vital that we continue to evolve and improve ad experiences for consumers, drawing on the LEAN ad principles to produce lighter, more relevant and quality creative.”

“We also need to educate consumers on the safety of ad supported sites as there is clearly some confusion about advertising delivering viruses simply because many ad blocking tools are packaged with anti-virus software,” Solanki added.

“Finally we need to educate consumers about the value exchange that can be offered by ads, allowing them access to content.”

The IAB Australia Adblocking Taskforce will work on guidelines and a program to address the key findings of the study.

The taskforce will also create market education activities for consumers, media and creative agencies.


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