Ad-blocker penetration high in Canada: study

Numbers from Adobe's inaugural Advertising Demand report are high, but also point to a silver lining with social media ad clicks.

Ad-blocking software is one of the hottest topics in the industry, with online advertisers struggling to figure out how to compensate for the page views lost at the hands of the software.

Now, a new study by Adobe has found that Canadians are far more likely to use ad-blockers than in the U.S.

Adobe’s inaugural North American Advertising Demand report, which collected data from 800 billion visits across 800 North American publishing, news and brand websites, aimed to tell advertisers what was working and what wasn’t working when it came to generating traffic.

Across the North American sites observed, few sites were steady in desktop and mobile traffic — most either grew (60% saw growth) or shrank (40%). Data for that statistic was not available for specific countries.

For those brands losing traffic, one of the biggest factors was ad-blocking software — and Canadians were a far bigger culprit than Americans for using those applications.

Adobe, which worked with analytics site PageFair on the ad-blocking data, found desktop ad-blocking software had a penetration rate of 24% in Canada — making its trends closer to countries like Sweden, Germany and Denmark (28%, 27% and 26% respectively) than the U.S., which only had a penetration rate of 18%.

“In the United States advertisers can act more proactively, because adoption rate of the software isn’t as high. In Canada, it’s harder because advertisers might need to be more reactive,” said Becky Tasker, manager of digital insights at Adobe.

Tasker could only speculate as to reasons for high ad-blocker adoption rates in Canada. She said it usually comes down to cultural factors, general unhappiness with the advertising experience and cost of bandwidth.

“Some people install ad-blockers because ads take up too much data or bandwidth,” she explained.

The good news, said Tasker, is that even if ad-blocking is to rise, Adobe found a correlation between ad-blocker usage and traffic coming in from social advertising, such as Facebook, YouTube and Instagram campaigns, in both Canada and the U.S.

“A consumer might be ad-blocking, but that doesn’t mean they’re not willing to engage with advertisers,” said Tasker. “A lot of advertising we see in social channels is a lot more customized, which might lead to more impulsivity in clicks or purchases.”

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