Half of young readers using ad-blockers on their mobile phones, conference told

A man using a smartphone. Picture: Reuters/Mike Segar

Nearly half of 16 to 24-year-olds now use an ad-blocker on their mobile phone, a marketing conference in London has heard.

Chris Dobson, chief executive of programmatic marketing firm The Exchange Lab, quoted the figure to industry executives at the Internet Advertising Bureau’s (IAB) Engage conference yesterday.

It comes after a digital adspend report by IAB UK and PwC revealed almost one in three smartphone-owning Britons use the device as their primary source of news.

That number rises to 42 per cent among 18 to 34-year-olds in the UK with advertisers now spending 36 per cent of digital advertising on smartphones, the report said.

Dobson told the advertising industry conference it had a “responsibility to fix [ad-blocking prevalence] before it’s too late”, Campaign reported.

“The scary thing is that when people start blocking ads, they don’t stop blocking ads. They get used to it an ad-free environment,” Dobson said.

An IAB report in March showed that more than one in five British adult use ad-blockers.

Ad-blocking was named as one of three threats putting “severe pressure” on existing media business models in the 2016 Digital News Report by the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism.

Its rise has prompted a response from some publications, including City AM and the Financial TimesIn France, news publishers have united to prevent ad-block users from reading online content.

Popular Ad-blocking software Adblock Plus announced it planned to start selling adverts in a move that was condemned by IAB as “cynical”.

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