Survey says 25 percent of smartphone owners have downloaded ad blockers

Mobile marketing company Tune is releasing a new report, where 24.6 percent of survey respondents said that they’d downloaded an ad-blocking app or browser.

The company says it surveyed nearly 4,000 smartphone owners in the United States and Europe, and it found that adoption is growing quickly — only 2.4 percent of respondents said they’d downloaded an ad blocker in the previous four to six months, whereas 7.8 percent said they’d done so since November 2015.

Tune is projecting that ad blocking could reach 80 percent of smartphone owners by the third quarter of 2017.

Some caveats here: This is a survey asking people about what they’ve got on their phones, rather than data directly from their phones. (In fact, 21 percent of respondents said they weren’t sure if they’d installed an ad blocker.) Plus, it’s still very early, with Apple only allowing ad blockers on iOS last fall, so I’m not sure these impressive growth rates will continue. And, as the report notes, just because someone has downloaded an ad-blocking app doesn’t mean they’re actually using it.

tune ad blocking

The report also looks into the demographics of ad blocking, but it doesn’t point out any overwhelming trends. Yes, ad blockers “skew slightly to young and middle-aged adults,” but there are folks older than 65 who say they’ve installed one. Similarly, men, Android owners and Europeans seem to be a bit more likely to try an ad blocker, but it’s only a difference of a few percentage points.

“People want to block ads because most mobile ads today are annoying and disruptive,” said Tune CEO Peter Hamilton in an emailed statement. “Much of the responsibility lies with the publisher who can choose the best ways to monetize with their advertising partners. Consumers will allow ads if the experience is actually entertaining or helpful.”

The Interactive Advertising Bureau, a trade group for online advertisers, released its own “ad blocking primer” today, which suggests that publishers take a “DEAL (Detect, Explain, Ask, and Lift or Limit)” approach to ad blockers.

You can read the full Tune report here.