Ad Blocking to Grow 34% This Year to Nearly 70 Million U.S. Web Users

En Route to 87 Million in 2017, New eMarketer Report Says

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Credit: eMarketer

Publishers would love internet users to decide that, actually, they don't need to install an ad-blocker on their browser of choice. But a new report from research firm eMarketer suggested on Tuesday that there's no such hope on the horizon.

U.S. internet users running ad blockers will grow this year to 69.8 million, or 26.3% of web users in the U.S., from 51.9 million, or 20%, last year, eMarketer said. In 2017, ad-blocking web surfers in the U.S. will total 86.6 million, or 32%.

Desktop and laptop computers are still far more popular for ad-blocking than smartphones, the report found. In 2016, 23.8% of U.S. internet users will have a blocker installed on a desktop or laptop, while only 7.8% of these users will have one installed on a smartphone.

There's overlap, of course, as the most ardent blockers might have the technology installed across all their devices.

Next year, the percentage of smartphone ad-blockers is projected to rise to 11%, still a relatively small number, but one that could deflate some of the air of opportunity surrounding mobile phone use for marketers and publishers.

"Ad blocking is a detriment to the entire advertising ecosystem, affecting mostly publishers, but also marketers, agencies and others whose businesses depend on ad revenue," eMarketer senior analyst Paul Verna said in a statement.

Ad-blocking is top-of-mind at the Cannes Lions international advertising festival, and seemingly nary a month goes by without some sort of meeting-of-the-minds between publishers intent on trying to curb ad-blocking and save the advertising revenue stream that they've come to rely on.

New York Times Co. CEO Mark Thompson said earlier this month that the company is exploring selling a higher-priced, ad-free version for those most averse to ads.

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