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63% users willing to accept light, non-intrusive ads: How publishers can reconfigure their advertising strategies

User adoption of Acceptable Ads is growing fast. It reached 218M users in 2020, with 435% growth on mobile over the last two years, according to the 2021 PageFair Adblock Report by Blockthrough, an ad tech company. 

The rising acceptance of Acceptable Ads is important as they can be a powerful solution to the adblock problem. Publishers that rely on ad revenue are increasingly facing challenges because of the growing use of adblockers by users. 

“Driver of significant change”

Moreover, tech companies like Google and Apple, and multiple governments have taken significant steps to protect users’ privacy. These include privacy regulations, the phasing out of third-party cookies, and browsers with in-built ad blocking capabilities. They can significantly throttle publishers’ ad revenue.

The increasing focus on user consent has been the driver of significant change in the advertising industry, from privacy regulations like GDPR and CCPA to Google’s looming deprecation of third-party cookies. 

2021 PageFair Adblock Report

The report, based on a survey of over 5,000 internet users in the US, presents the latest trends on ad blocking and privacy. It can help publishers reconfigure their ad strategy to serve users better, as well as surmount the challenges posed by privacy regulations.

“Adblocking on mobile continues its strong linear growth, driven chiefly by the rapid adoption of mobile browsers that block advertising by default,” says Marty Krátký-Katz, Co-founder & CEO, Blockthrough. “Desktop adblocking also shows a moderate rise for the first time since 2016, possibly on account of more people using laptops and desktops to browse the web at home due to worldwide Covid-19 restrictions.” 

Mobile and desktop adblocking grew 11% and 9% to reach 586M and 257M users respectively, by the end of 2020. 37% of respondents said they began using an ad blocker within the last two years. The remaining 63% have been long-time users. 

Most users say they use adblockers to avoid bad ad experiences. This is a change from a 2017 survey in which security concern was the leading cause. 

74% don’t mind advertisements

People are also increasingly concerned about online privacy and want control over their data and its usage. 56% of users rated it “extremely important.” 74% said they don’t mind being advertised to if the ads don’t compromise their privacy and meet certain quality standards.

An encouraging finding is that adblock users are more than twice as likely to consent to Acceptable Ads to comply with “adblock walls.” 63% of the respondents to the survey said they are willing to accept light, non-intrusive advertising to support web publishers. 

On the other hand, 68% said they would exit the website if it blocks access because they are using adblock. 15% were “likely” to purchase a paid subscription to get access to the content.

The survey also looked into the adblock monetization strategies used by the top 100 Comscore-ranked publishers. 63% of them are using at least one adblock monetization strategy, up from 56% in 2020. Majority of them (52), use Acceptable Ads. 

It was found that adblock users “overwhelmingly prefer a light, non-intrusive advertising experience across the Web, compared to all other strategies combined, such as complying with whitelist requests or paying to access content on a per-site basis.” 

“Consent-based advertising (via Acceptable Ads) and messaging-based tools (such as adblock walls) are the two leading strategies publishers use to engage their adblocked audience,” the report states. 

“The Acceptable Ads ecosystem enables publishers to engage their adblock users with light, consented advertising,” it adds. 

“The rapid growth of the ecosystem and high opt-in rates make ad recovery via Acceptable Ads the most effective and respectful technique for monetizing adblocked inventory.”

The full report can be downloaded at Blockthrough: 
2021 PageFair Adblock Report

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