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Use of ad blocking technology in Australia is stabilising: IAB

Whilst awareness of ad blocking technology has increased, usage has marginally declined for online Australians, according to the latest research published by IAB Australia and conducted by Pureprofile.

Awareness of ad blockers has increased from 59 per cent to 63 per cent, but current usage has declined by two per centage points to 25 per cent of online Australians (or one in four), compared to 27 per cent since October 2016.

The results indicate that Australia is following the global ad blocking stablisation trend of the last twelve months and heading to the UK level of 22 per cent.

The penetration of mobile ad blocking is still significantly lower than on desktop, with only four per cent of Australians indicating that they had an ad blocker installed on their smartphone versus 21 per cent on desktop or laptop.

“Whilst it is positive news that the use of ad blocking appears to be stablising in Australia, it is imperative that the advertising industry continues to double down on our efforts to evolve and improve the ad experience for consumers. As mobile emerges as the channel of choice for many consumers, it will be key to ensure that mobile advertising respects the close relationship that a consumer has with their mobile phones and adheres to the LEAN principles of providing lighter, relevant and higher quality advertising experiences,” said Vijay Solanki, CEO of IAB Australia.

The number one reason for turning off an ad blocker remains ‘prevents me from seeing content’. The research indicates that messaging to consumers from sites encouraging them to turn off their ad blocker (or white list their site) is impacting consumer behaviour. Over six in 10 people who have seen messaging about turning off ad blockers have taken some action as a result on at least one site. This represents an increase from 55 per cent in October 2016 to 62 per cent this year. The number of people who have trialed an ad blocker but no longer have one installed on their digital devices is growing, increasing from 14 per cent to 17 per cent of online Australians in the last six months.

Fear of obtaining viruses remains the primary driver of installing an ad blocker, though over six in 10 people with an ad blocker have concerns over the quantity and intrusive nature of some digital ad formats. IAB Australia is helping to drive better ad experiences through work being carried out by the global initiative Coalition for Better Ads as well as a range of projects being driven out of IAB Tech Lab in the US.

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