Ad Blockers May Cost Online Publishers $22 Billion

Billions in revenue are at stake as the use of ad blockers surges.

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Aug 10 2015, 1:00pm

Photo: Luke Jones/Flickr

Online publishers are expected to lose nearly $22 billion in lost advertising revenue this year thanks to the rise in the use of ad blocking software, according to a study released this morning. This number may reach $41 billion by 2016.

The study, from Adobe and PageFair, an Irish firm that seeks to help publishers recover some of that lost advertising revenue, suggests that nearly 200 million people worldwide use some form of ad blocking software in their web browser. (Ad blocking on mobile devices is still minimal.) While that represents only an estimated 6 percent of the worldwide online population, it does represent year-over-year growth of 41 percent.

About 45 million of these people are located in the US, most of which are located in California and New York. Reasons commonly cited for using ad blockers include the desire not to be tracked online and concern over malware-laden advertising.

The study noted that technology and gaming websites are most frequently targeted by people using ad blockers, and that online publishers are particularly worried that people will increasingly block video ads, which is "some of their most valuable content," according to Campbell Foster, Adobe's director of product marketing.

"That's a really scary prospect," he told the New York Times.