Ad blocking may prompt fearful publishers to seek help from consultancies, but it isn't actually interfering with the delivery of ads on mobile devices.
According to Augustine Fou – a cybersecurity and ad fraud researcher who runs Marketing Science, an ad consultancy – the actual rate of ad blocking on mobile devices in the US and Canada is 0 per cent.
Basically, there's not enough ad blocking on mobile devices to measure.
It's a different story in Asia, where Alibaba's UC Browser, which supports built-in ad blocking, is widely used. But in the US and Canada, mobile ad blocking is statistically irrelevant.
The existence of ad blocking technology for mobile devices suggests there should be some impact. Apple's introduction of support for content blocking in iOS 9 was characterized as a potential cataclysm.
But the damage appears to be overstated. Despite the availability of mobile browsers that block ads on Android and, more recently, iOS – Brave, UC Browser, Firefox Focus – people don't use them regularly, said Fou.
"They revert to their default browser – Safari or Chrome – which at this point does not block ads," Fou explained in an email to The Register. "So the number of downloads of ad blockers (on desktop) or ad blocking browsers (on mobile) is not a good reflection of the real rate of ad blocking."
That's not to say advertisers are getting their money's worth on mobile. About 43 per cent of mobile display ad impressions are fraudulent, according to recent Marketing Science data.
Ad fraud will cost advertisers $16.4bn in 2017, according to Adloox, a company that sells a defense against ad fraud. A report released in May by the Association of National Advertisers comes in with a more modest number, $6.5bn. ®