In the past few months the rate of new mobile users downloading and installing ad blockers has more than tripled, and if this rate of mobile ad-blocking continues, more than 80% of smartphone owners could be actively blocking ads by the middle of 2017.
That’s according to a new report from mobile marketing tech firm Tune, which surveyed nearly 4,000 smart phones users in the U.S. and Europe about their ad-blocking habits, finding that as of January 2016, 25% of mobile users have already installed an app or browser that can block ads.
“Monetizing content through advertising will always be a relevant way for publishers to make money,” said Tune CEO Peter Hamilton. “That said, it is up to advertisers and publishers to work together to dramatically improve the experience so that consumers can give feedback on bad advertising and receive assurance of their privacy. The more advertisers and publishers work together transparently, the better.”
Of the 25% who’ve already downloaded an ad-blocking app or browser, nearly 8% said they’ve done so since November, though Tune is quick to point out that not everyone who’s downloaded ad-blocking technology has actually employed it when browsing or using an app.
The report also found that men are slightly more likely than women (28.6% to 22%) to install an ad-blocking app or browser, and Android users tend to block ads more often than Apple owners (27% to 22%).
“We thought desktop ad blocking was growing fast, but mobile is growing much faster. Which makes sense, of course — mobile is doing everything faster,” said John Koetsier, mobile economist for Tune. “The saving grace for publishers and marketers today is that ad blocking impacts so little of the mobile experience. Most of our time is spent in apps, where ads are much harder to block.”
One of the main reasons for the growth in ad blocking, according to Tune: privacy concerns. Fifty-five percent of those surveyed said they don’t believe advertisers should be able to collect any data at all on mobile users.
“There’s an unspoken three-way contract in media between publishers, readers, and advertisers,” said Jennifer Wong, VP of marketing for Tune. “It’s in both publishers and advertisers’ best interest to ensure that advertising is a net benefit to readers. Failing that, we’re going to see more and more efforts around ad blocking.”