IAB Ireland comments on recently issued PageFair 2017 Ad Blocking Report



IAB Ireland comments on recently issued PageFair 2017 Ad Blocking Report

  • July 2016 research for IAB Ireland, conducted by Red C shows lower figure for Ad Blocking in Ireland and shows users are receptive to ‘Turn off Ad Blocker notices’
  • IAB Ireland is playing a key role in 3 global IAB initiatives, which are designed to improve the UserX and combat Ad blocking: LEAN, DEAL and the Coalition for Better Ads

According to the PageFair 2017 Ad Blocking Report issued last week, Ad Block penetration in Ireland in September was recorded at 39%.   This is significantly higher than that shown in our own research from July 2016, and Ad Block figures reported to us from IAB Members.  We note that PageFair also recorded a lower figure of 20% in July 2016.

As the trade organisation for digital advertising, IAB Ireland has the following response to that report.

In July 2016, Red C carried out research commissioned by IAB Ireland on the use of ad blocking in the Irish market and the findings show that:

  • 25% of Irish Internet users claimed to be using Ad Blockers – just under a third have ever downloaded Ad Blockers.
  • 51% are men, 49% women and 53% are under 34.
  • Laptops are the main device where ad blockers are used – 84%, compared to 22% on smartphones and 14% on tablets.
  • However, users’ experience of ad blocking softwares has been problematic with 38% of current Ad blockers claiming that Ad Blockers interrupt their user experience and this rises to 53% among lapsed users of Ad Blockers.
  • Users are extremely receptive to ‘Turn off Ad Blocker notices’. 89% of users would consider discontinuing use of ad blockers.
  • Intrusive and interfering ads are the main reasons given for using Ad Blockers.

Some points to note:

  1. In common with the IAB Ireland Red C research, the PageFair report for Ireland shows the majority of Ad Blocking is on Desktop, with less than 1% of the internet population in Ireland ad blocking on mobile. With Mobile / tablet accounting for over 40% of Internet usage in Ireland (57.6% on desktop – Statcounter October 2016), this means a substantial amount of Internet usage in Ireland is not subject to Ad Blockers.  
  1. IAB Ireland Publisher members are reporting much lower figures for Ad Blocking – with on average levels of 10% being detected depending on demographics.
  1. Agency members of IAB Ireland are recording minimal impact of Ad Blocking on the delivery of online campaigns.

Since ad blocking is a global phenomenon, IAB has not been complacent in respect of ad blocker usage.  IAB and its members (publishers, agencies, advertisers) have been engaged in understanding the reasons behind ad blocking and the development of initiatives designed to provide better UserX of digital advertising on a global basis.

In terms of tracking the use of ad blocking software, IAB Ireland is working closely with IAB Europe who have prioritised for 2017 the development of pan-european ad blocking tracking.

IAB Ireland is actively committed to the global IAB initiatives which are designed to improve the online advertising environment.  We strongly believe in an ad funded internet – ads allow publishers to make their content, services and applications widely available and are a hugely important part of the free Internet.  IAB and its members are committed to respecting our users and to providing a better user experience of digital advertising.

IAB Ireland is playing a key role in 3 global IAB initiatives, which are designed to improve the UserX and combat Ad blocking:


The LEAN Ads programme supported by IABs around the world introduces the next phases of advertising technical standards for global digital advertising.

The new LEAN formats are designed to provide better UserX of digital advertising across device.

LEAN stands for:

L: Light. Limited file size with strict data call guidelines.

E: Encrypted. Assure user security with https/SSL compliant ads.

A: Ad Choices Support. All ads should support DAA’s consumer privacy programs.

N: Non-invasive/Non-disruptive. Ads that supplement the user experience and don’t disrupt it.

IAB has recently launched a new ad portfolio which has just passed the public comment stage and will be in test mode shortly across markets including Ireland.

The new ad units adhere to the LEAN standards and are designed to be used cross screen – here is a useful microsite which shows the new units, along with examples of LEAN do’s and don’ts and a gallery of ads.

LEAN Scoring will be introduced by year end and will facilitate ranking publishers, advertisers and by extension agencies on their adherence to the LEAN principles/criteria.

  1. DEAL

We have seen from our Red C Research that 89% of  Irish users would respond positively to a notice from a publisher explaining the value exchange in terms of users receiving free content which is funded by digital advertising and inviting them to cease the use of ad blockers.

DEAL, encourages publishers to connect with ad blocking consumers through the following process:

Detect ad blocking, in order to initiate a conversation;

Explain the value exchange that advertising enables;

Ask for changed behaviour in order to maintain an equitable exchange;

Lift restrictions or Limit access in response to consumer choice.

An Ad blocking Detection Primer and Script is freely available to members of the IAB Global Network – also examples of publishers battling ad blocking are available to view as different approaches suit different publishers.

More on DEAL is here.

  1. Coalition for Better Ads

Recognising that all stakeholders have a role to play in the development of a joined up cross industry initiative – IAB US, IAB Europe, national IABs and the IAB Tech Lab are among the founding members and supporters of the Coalition for Better Ads along as well as leading international trade associations and companies involved in online media such as Google, Facebook, Group M, Unilever and P&G.

The coalition is dedicated to improving consumers’ experience of digital advertising www.betterads.org.

CEO of IAB Ireland, Suzanne McElligott sits on the coalition’s Communications and Policy Committee as an IAB Europe representative.

Commenting on ad blocking, Suzanne said:

‘Ad Blocking is a global phenomenon, the growth of consumer disengagement with advertising is being experienced across media with consumers increasingly skipping tv ads as well as advertising on other media. The work of IAB has never been more important in the development of global initiatives designed to improve the quality and delivery of digital advertising as well as explaining to users the value exchange whereby the free content which is provided by publishers is funded by digital advertising.

As a board member of IAB Europe and as a representative on the Coalition for Better Ads committee, IAB Ireland inputs at first first hand on the development of this very important work and shares these learnings with IAB Ireland members, driving the development of better userX of digital advertising.’

Colm Sherwin, Group Digital Media Director Core Media commented:  ‘Over the last few yearsmultiple research companies have issued ad-blocking reports with figures here in Ireland ranging from between 25% up to 39% depending on your source, device, demographic audience etc. Sometimes what gets lost in these reports is the impact ad-blocking has on the consumer experience and the impact ad-blocking can have on content in general.

The IABs response to these issues is welcomed within the industry. The new LEAN formats should ensure the user experience is priority, while the DEAL process helps educates the user of the negative impact ad blockers can have on the standard of content produced by publishers worldwide. A combination of both should help reduce the negative perception thats often associated with digital advertising, and contribute to changing attitudes towards the need for digital advertising as part of a healthy & independent media industry.’


For further information please contact: Maeve O’Meara, Marketing Manager, IAB Ireland, 086 852 2291, maeve@iabireland.ie

Notes to Editors

About IAB Ireland

IAB Ireland (www.iabireland.ie) is the trade association for the Irish online advertising industry. As a not for profit organisation IAB Ireland works with members to ensure marketers can identify the best role for online in building their brands. IAB Ireland is licensed by IAB US and is a member of the IAB Europe network. The IAB network shares three core objectives, namely to prove, promote and protect the online advertising industry. These objectives are fulfilled through the dissemination of authoritative research, the organisation of educational events and by promoting industry-wide best practice.

About Core Media:

Core Media is Ireland’s largest media buying group with billings of €205m.  It was voted Agency Network of the Year at last year’s Irish Media Awards.  It was also voted as one of the 100 best places to work for in Europe this year (source: Great Place to Work Institute). www.coremedia.ie