The rise of ad blocking in the UK has been discussed at length, with a fifth of UK internet users already in the habit. On mobile devices advertising is seen as especially annoying, so giving users better control and a better overall mobile ad experience are particularly important in combating the ad blocking phenomenon.
eMarketer forecast that more than 20% of UK internet users will use ad blockers in 2016, and that this proportion will reach 27% in 2017. Ad blocking represents a clear and present danger to digital advertising.
While mobile ad blocking isn’t as common as desktop blocking in the UK, according to eMarketer, a May 2016 report from PageFair and Priori Data indicated that it was growing globally—there were more than double the amount of people using mobile ad blocking browsers it March 2016 than there were in January 2015.
One of the common justifications for using ad blockers is that digital advertising is just plain annoying. On mobile devices, it could be argued, the potential to annoy users is even higher. April 2016 polling by Differentology for the Internet Advertising Bureau UK (IAB UK) found that UK internet users had plenty of advice as to how mobile advertising could be improved, with an underlying theme being to make ads less annoying and intrusive. For example, 58% of respondents said making ads easy to skip or avoid would improve the experience, while 52% wanted to stop ads that slowed page loading and a further 52% wanted ads to be less obtrusive.
The most striking finding, perhaps, was that while making ads relevant was at least cited, it was the least popular response, mentioned by just 35% of respondents. This is a stark reminder that even with mobile’s promise of ultra-granular targeting, consumers in the UK still only tolerate advertising, and minimizing its impact on their mobile media days would be wise.