BT/PageFair 2020 Report: Growth of the Blocked Web

In this sequel to the last PageFair Adblock Report, we illustrate significant new trends in consumer adoption of adblocking around the world, including new empirical data for 2017, 2018 and 2019. 

The battleground of the adblock wars has shifted to mobile. Mobile is driving a rapid expansion in the population of the Internet, and a large portion of these people are starting out with browsers that block ads by default. Meanwhile, in North America, Europe and Russia, adblocking has become a key theatre in the wider browser wars. Google Chrome has captured over half of global mobile market share in less than a decade, but virtually every significant rival is now competing by offering adblocking as a feature – a strategy that Google is unlikely to mimic. 

The question now is whether Google can continue to leverage Chrome to neutralize adblocking, without losing significant market share or engendering accusations of anticompetitive behavior.

Lastly, our research also reveals that top US publishers have coalesced on a preferred adblock monetization strategy: Acceptable Ads, which is now supported by a diverse ecosystem of adblock extensions/apps/browsers and adtech vendors.

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