A new study from location-based mobile ad platform Retale found one in five smartphone users utilize an ad blocker on their smartphone or tablet.
According to the study, which surveyed 500 adults across the United States in January, almost 22 percent of participants between the ages of 18 and 54 said they use an ad blocker on their smartphone or tablet. While participants over 55 were less likely to do the same, a full 13 percent reported using a blocker.
Overall, 20 percent of respondents reported using an ad blocker on their smartphone or tablet.
While it might not seem too high now, however, that number is likely to increase as an additional 16 percent of respondents said they’d like to use an ad blocker but don’t think they can on their current device.
“Advertisers can’t afford to ignore mobile ad blocking,” Retale president Pat Dermody said. “As adoption expands, brands will need to factor these potential obstacles into their digital marketing strategy. People want to block mobile banner ads just as they’ve done with desktop ads, but the awareness around mobile ad blocking solutions and the technology itself isn’t quite there yet.”
According to Dermody, a separate Retale study found 60 percent of respondents who had clicked on a mobile banner ad said they did so by mistake. An even higher proportion of those participants – 70 percent – said the accidental ad clicks were annoying.
So far, wireless carriers have placed themselves on both sides of the ad-blocking fence.
To help shield advertisers, Verizon has built ads directly into its go90 mobile video app. Verizon CFO Fran Shammo said the built in nature of the ads leaves them unaffected by ad blocking technology and offers advertisers continued visibility.
Other carriers, like EE and Digicel, have gone in the opposite direction, moving forward with plans to block ads at the network level. European carrier Three also recently announced plans to block ads for its customers in the United Kingdom and Italy. U.K. carrier O2 is reportedly experimenting with ad blocking as well, but has not yet decided whether to move forward with implementation.
The trend toward mobile ad blockers echoes the rise of desktop ad blockers, which are in use by more than 55 percent of PC users ages 18 to 54, Retale’s study found.
Desktop ad blockers are most heavily used by millennials (63 percent) and individuals ages 35 to 54 (57 percent), according to the Retale study. Only 44 percent of respondents ages 55 and up reported using an ad blocker on their desktop computer.