Top 5 IAB verticals and geos, ranked by adblock rates
According to the 2021 PageFair Adblock Report, 250M desktop devices and 586M mobile devices were blocking ads by the end of 2020, with self-reported adblock rates for US Internet users averaging as high as 40%.
But let’s take it one step further. Ask yourself, do you know the average adblock rate for your specific content niche or geo? We had the same question.
This prompted us to look into our network data to identify the top 5 content niches and geos by average adblock rates. And the results were quite interesting.
How we created these estimates
In order to answer this question, we analyzed 10 billion pageviews generated by our client publishers over a 24-day period from the start of 2020 to the end of 2021—the first day of each month to be specific. We chose this method in order to account for seasonality in ad tech.
This data tells us:
- Where our publishers’ traffic comes from based on IP addresses
- What IAB vertical their content falls under
- Their total pageviews by IAB vertical and geo
- Their total adblock pageviews by IAB vertical and geo
From here, we ranked IAB verticals and geos by their total pageviews and total adblock pageviews. In order to ensure that the data sample is statistically significant, we filtered out any IAB vertical or geo with less than 100,000 in representative total pageview data.
While there are IAB verticals and countries that have higher adblock rates than the ones we will uncover below (>40% in some cases), we’re presenting the following as they have a combination of relatively high adblock rates and a mature digital advertising landscape.
With that in mind, our method does come with some caveats.
Users who block ads using certain VPN, DNS, and network-based adblockers would not be picked up by our adblock detection script. Therefore, they are not included in the data set. Also, please note that these estimates for adblock rate are for desktop only.
But without further ado, let’s find our top adblock culprits.
Top 5 IAB verticals by adblock rate
|IAB Vertical||Adblock rate|
|Arts and Entertainment||27%|
|Computers, Electronics, and Technology||26%|
|e-Commerce and Shopping||22%|
|News and Media||16%|
Here are the top 5 IAB verticals with the highest adblock rates.
Let’s take a look at how much revenue publishers operating in these verticals could be losing to adblocking, with the help of some example sites. As part of preparing these estimates, we also manually tested these sites to confirm that they use display advertising to generate revenue.
To calculate their estimated revenue loss, we used a combination of:
- Total monthly pageviews estimate from SimilarWeb
- Ad units served per page (as observed on-site)
- The average adblock rate for the vertical
- A benchmark programmatic eCPM of $2 for regular traffic
We will be using the same method to calculate the revenue opportunity for our top 5 geos with their associated adblock rates.
New games, like Elden Ring, can be difficult to navigate. As a result, players start looking into game guides and walkthroughs to get more a bit of direction.
That’s where gamepressure.com comes in.
With over 20K entries and an ever-increasing encyclopedia, it’s a popular resource for gamers that generates 22.8M monthly pageviews. They hold the 63rd spot in the “Games” category, with at least 17% of their traffic coming from their home country.
Similar to before, we’ll compare how their website changes with and without an adblocker present.
At a 31% adblock rate, GamePressure may be losing at least $140K a year to adblockers.
Arts and Entertainment
Let’s look at popsugar.com for our first example. POPSUGAR focuses on empowering women across the globe through positive, purposeful, and playful content.
According to SimilarWeb, POPSUGAR ranks 1,057th in their country, 18th under the “Arts and Entertainment” category, and gets about 45M monthly pageviews.
Scroll left and right to see what their homepage looks like with an adblocker on, and then off.
As you can see, their advertisements aren’t viewable with an adblocker on. Here’s a quick recap on why POPSUGAR’s advertisements aren’t appearing with adblock enabled.
Based on our estimates, POPSUGAR could be losing approximately $275K a year in recoverable advertising revenue.
Computers, Electronics, and Technology
Founded in 1999, SourceForge describes itself as, “an open Source software community resource dedicated to helping open source projects be as successful as possible.” It allows users to discover and download open source software across multiple categories.
SimilarWeb estimates that SourceForge receives close to 87M pageviews every month. Coupled with the fact that the average visitor spends a little over 2.5 minutes on their website, SourceForge has a sizable, dedicated, and engaged audience.
Here is what a site visitor would see with and without an adblocker present. We will use the format for our remaining examples.
Our estimates show that SourceForge may be losing at least $180K annually to adblocking. Given that they operate in the “Computers Electronics and Technology” with a relatively high adblock rate, that’s a significant revenue opportunity for a well-known publisher in their space.
e-Commerce and Shopping
Anyone looking for a good deal on home essentials and decor?
Brad’s Deals is an online rebate store. In addition to affiliate marketing, they also use advertisements to monetize their 25M monthly pageviews. They rank 9th under the “Coupons and Rebates” category. As such, Brad’s Deals is a popular destination for users looking for a great deal. In other words, they have secured a valuable audience for their niche.
However, with a 22% average adblock rate for e-Commerce found in our analysis, Brad’s Deals could be losing at least $462K a year due to adblocking.
News and Media
We’ve talked about Forbes before. Specifically, their use of an adblock wall.
Implementing an adblock wall leads to diminishing returns. As a result, your likely-to-convert users (loyal and dedicated audience) may disable their adblocker until you hit your revenue cap for them. However, you still won’t be able to monetize the larger subset of users who won’t disable their adblocker.
In comparison, Acceptable Ads allow you to monetize the vast majority of adblock users. The Acceptable Ads framework is built on prioritizing UX by avoiding interruptive ad experiences, which is the number one motivation behind user adoption of adblockers in the first place.
As the world’s leading dedicated Acceptable Ads vendor, Blockthrough’s solution can provide publishers a 10-40% revenue lift by efficiently monetizing your adblocked inventory. Find out exactly how much revenue you’re losing with our simple-to-use recovery calculator.
Back to Forbes, we estimate them to be losing at least $450K a year in revenue by not addressing adblocking in an efficient manner. While this may be a drop in the bucket for Forbes, it’s incremental revenue that can be unlocked with Blockthrough’s one-line code integration.
Top 5 geos by adblock rate
|United States of America||19%|
Similar to the top IAB verticals, we analyzed the geographic source of traffic for our client publishers and specifically looked at countries with meaningful sample sizes by setting a filter for eliminating geo entries with less than 100,000 pageviews.
Just like with our IAB verticals, we’ve included an example publisher for each country. Similarly, we’ve used their average adblock rate as the benchmark to calculate their estimated yearly revenue loss.
Programme TV is a popular website for viewers to read up on all movie-related news.
They rank 3rd in France in the “TV Movies and Streaming” category. Also, just under half of their total traffic (44.61%) comes from organic search alone. With 94% of their traffic tuning in from France, it’s safe to say that they have an active local user base frequently browsing their website.
At 155M monthly pageviews, Programme TV could be losing just under $600K annually.
Spiegel was founded in 1988 and is a German news publisher with over 86% of its traffic coming from their home country, according to SimilarWeb.
They rank 3rd in the “News and Media” category within Germany and get 250M monthly pageviews. Approximately 20% of their total traffic comes from organic search. Spiegel also uses an adblock wall to ask users to whitelist their website.
As we’ve noted previously, adblock walls have diminishing returns, meaning Spiegel is missing out on a huge opportunity for incremental revenue. More specifically, with a 24% adblock rate, Germany’s third-largest news publisher may be losing close to $701K annually.
CTV News is a household name for many Canadians who want to stay updated on the latest, breaking news in Canada and across the globe. On average, CTV News gets nearly 148M monthly pageviews with 87.5% of their global traffic coming from Canada. They rank 3rd under the “News and Media” category, coming up against Yahoo and CBC News.
The bulk of CTV’s traffic comes from organic search, 48.19% to be specific. This is a high indicator of brand resonance and CTV News’ audience viewing them as a thought leader and trusted source for news.
Our estimates show that CTV News may be losing at least $346K a year due to adblocking.
United States of America
If we want to take a look at the American equivalent of Sky Sports, look no further than ESPN. Sports fans can get up-to-the-minute sports news coverage, scores, highlights, commentary for the NFL, MLB, NBA, college football, NCAA basketball, and more.
Similar to Sky Sports, ESPN also ranks 1st in the “Other Sports” category within the country.
It also has the longest visitor duration of just over 9.5 minutes. More time spent on a page, or browsing a website, equates to more monetization opportunities. Nearly 86% of ESPN’s traffic originates from the United States, followed by Canada at 3.5%.
With a whopping 1.3B monthly pageviews and a 19% adblock rate, we conservatively estimate that ESPN may be losing close to $3.3M annually due to adblocking.
Any sports fans here?
Sky Sports is ranked number 1 in the “Other Sports” category in the UK. They focus on covering the latest sports news, transfers, and scores, as well as rivals against the likes of the Mirror and the BBC. Founded in 1990, Sky Sports is a popular source for all-things-sports.
Sky Sports received an estimated 52M monthly pageviews and has above average ad density on its web pages. Accounting for those factors, Sky Sports is leaving an estimated $455K on the table in annual revenue opportunities that can be recovered through Acceptable Ads.
Despite the reduced focus on adblock-related revenue loss to the publishing industry, you can see how high adblock rates can still cause substantial revenue leakage for publishers.
While our estimates are conservative, it still paints a picture of the massive monetization opportunity available. And this opportunity can be easily unlocked using the Acceptable Ads Standard, which allows publishers to serve a lighter ad experience to opted-in adblock users.
Unlike previous generation adblock recovery solutions, Blockthrough’s Acceptable Ads solution is easy to implement (one-line code integration), respects user consent and experience, and allows publishers to recover substantial amounts of adblocked revenue on a consistent basis.
If you haven’t tried to estimate your adblock-related revenue loss already, we have a handy adblock recovery calculator that you can use to generate your customized revenue forecast.
Ready to speak to our team? Fill out our form below to get started with Blockthrough.
While you're here...
Did you know that the average publisher loses 10-40% of their revenue to adblocking? What you may not know is that adblocking has largely shifted to ad-filtering, with over 250M users allowing a safer, less interruptive ad experience to be served to them—in turn supporting their favorite sites and creators.
Blockthrough's award-winning technology plugs into publishers' header bidding wrapper and ad server to scan ad creatives for compliance with the Acceptable Ads Standard to activate this "hidden" audience and generate incremental revenue, while respecting the choice and experience of ad-filtering users.
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