If you frequent technology news sites, it’s easy to get the impression that AdBlock Plus – the popular Firefox extension that can block most forms of online advertising – is a big deal. Any news article, blog post or forum thread that happens to mention advertising will inevitably get several comments expounding the benefits of AdBlock. Even seemingly unrelated topics will often get that treatment : Web pages loading too slowly? Use AdBlock. Worried about privacy? AdBlock. Unsure which web browser to choose? Get the one that can run AdBlock.
With all this commotion and ad-blocker evangelizing going on, one has to wonder – is AdBlock on the way to becoming the norm, and thus completely devaluing online advertising?
No. Not even close.
I’ve run the numbers. If current Internet usage trends persist, people who use AdBlock Plus (and other ad-blocking plugins) will always be a tiny minority. Sure, it might have some impact on the ad revenue of websites that target the tech-savvy crowd. But advertisers in general will probably always see AdBlock as just a minor annoyance – if that.
See the stats below.
AdBlock Plus Popularity
By last count, there were ~1,734 million Internet users in the world. AdBlock Plus, the most popular ad-blocking plugin, has ~10 million active users. Thus, only about 0.6% of all Internet users have AdBlock installed.
In the last two years, the number of Internet users has been increasing by about 19.7 million each month, and this growth is accelerating. I wasn’t able to find complete historical data for AdBlock Plus, but judging by these stats (see the monthly view) the number of AdBlock users is currently increasing by about 315 thousand per month. And it seems to be slowing down lately.
With a growth rate disparity this huge, AdBlock will never catch up.