Sunday 25 February 2018

Irish advertisers dispute 'highest online ad blocking rates in Europe' claims

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Adrian Weckler

Adrian Weckler

Irish advertisers claim that ad blocking online is not as prevalent as recent reports claiming that Ireland has the highest online ad blocking rates in Europe.

The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), which lobbies on behalf of the Irish online advertising industry, says that polling results it commissioned from Red C show that 25pc of Irish Internet users use ad blockers.

But the lobby group says that this is far lower than recent results from a Dublin-based company, Pagefair, that helps publishers tackle ad blocking.

PageFair’s recent global report claims that 39pc of Irish internet users employ ad blocking software. PageFair’s findings are based on downloads rather than polling data. It said  that Ireland and Greece share top spot in Europe for ad-blocking at 39pc with Britain’s ad blocking rate less than half that of Ireland’s at 16pc.

However, the PageFair report showed only a tiny amount of mobile ad blocking,  something that the IAB says makes the figures incomplete.

"According to the PageFair 2017 Ad Blocking Report issued last week, penetration in Ireland was recorded at 39pc," said a spokeswoman for the lobby group.

"This is significantly higher than that shown in our own research and reported to us from IAB members. Mobile traffic is the fastest growing sector of web activity here with almost half of all internet usage now done on mobile phones."

The IAB polling data claims that just under a third of Irish web users have ever downloaded ad blockers. It also says that ad blockers are used almost equally by men and women and almost equally by those under and over the age of 34.

The IAB polling data also claims that users’ experience of ad blocking software is “problematic”.

“38pc claim that ad blockers interrupt their user experience and this rises to 53pc among lapsed users of ad blockers,” said a spokeswoman.

The IAB research also claims that 89pc of users “would discontinue using ad blockers for their favourite websites”, if requested to, blocked from the site or given more favourable ad formats.

However, the IAB survey was taken in July.

A spokesman for PageFair said that ad blocking patterns shifted noticeably upwards in the second half of 2016.

Ad blocking is creating a huge gulf in advertising income for traditional publishers and media companies trying to earn money from online ads.

Facebook and Google are largely unaffected by ad blocking software as their advertising formats are harder to block. As a result, the two tech giants have expanded their share of the online advertising market to over two thirds as traditional media publishers falter.

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