Ad-blocking is on the rise globally but there is some interesting insight within Meeker’s numbers. On the desktop, ad-blocking continues to grow but at a slower pace than before, whilst mobile ad-blocking is rising fast.
With Google rolling out limited ad-blocking capabilities
within Google Chrome (the most popular web browser), these numbers will sky rocket across both desktop and mobile. At the same time, I think the overall number will become irrelevant in the next few years.
By rolling out its own ad-blocking capability, Google can give users a choice between advertising and paid for alternatives in a way no-one else has managed. The metric that will become more important to ad-reliant businesses will be the percentage of people who choose to pay over receiving the service for free with ads. Previous trials did not show much adoption, but also did not block entry as publishers and Google themselves are suggesting will be the result this time around. Similar to Sky TV here in the UK, we may even see a blend of the two over time.
Initially Google is only blocking the most irritating types of ads - ads that interrupt, have sound switched on and potentially slow down the browsing experience for example. Google is using the Coalition for Better Ads, which includes Facebook, Washington Post, News Corp among others to decide which ads do and do not get blocked though what happens when they decide to cross paths with Google’s ads themselves will be an interesting fight should it ever happen.
The underlying problem that will need to be resolved is that publishers make more money if they can deliver ads to people they know about - i.e. targeted ads vs people obviously do not want their lives to be tracked. Google could roll out an ability to manage this relationship between consumer and publisher but it would mean Google holding even more data on an individual.
That isn’t an approach I would foresee them doing. Potentially they could develop a system similar to Apple Pay, where data can only be accessed via a fingerprint and is only stored locally. Data legislation could then mandate that companies have to remove specific information if a user later requests it.