Today’s release of another study on the rising use of ad blockers has sparked a new round of hand-wringing over the software’s blow to the online ad industry. Some $22 billion will be lost worldwide this year, according to the report from Adobe and PageFair, an Irish company that helps advertisers get some of that lost ad revenue back.
Sounds scary! But the concerns are overblown, at least for now. Here’s why:
* It’s still a relatively small percentage of people especially in the U.S., where only 15% of users employ ad blocking, according to the study.
And the U.S. is by far the most lucrative ad market in the world. So in the places where most online companies advertise, they’ll continue to reach the vast majority of users.
* Only desktop ads are getting blocked for now. And we all know we’re rapidly approaching the time when most of the ads we see will be on our mobile devices. So the fastest-growing ad market, on mobile devices, isn’t even affected yet, not least because app stores such as Google’s don’t allow ad blocking apps. …
All this isn’t to say advertisers shouldn’t be concerned. They should be. The ad blocking trend line doesn’t bode well for brands that expect to keep reaching people as easily online as they have everywhere else.
But advertisers that create ads that aren’t intrusive and may even be useful have less to fear. Those that keep trying to shovel pop-ups and annoying mortgage come-ons? They probably deserve to lose business anyway.