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WFA responds to study showing 36% of ad blocker users are in APAC: ‘Brands must take responsibility’

The World Federation of Advertisers, the industry body for global marketers, has responded to a striking report on ad blocking on mobile devices by admitting that brands needed to take responsibility to address the issue.

Source: PageFair ad blocking report

Source: PageFair 2016 mobile ad blocking report

While advertising may pay for content, people are failing to make this connection, the WFA has concluded on the back a report by PageFair, an ad tech firm whose technology circumvents ad blocking.

The study found that ad blockers are twice as prevalent on mobile devices as on desktop computers, and 22% of smartphone users globally are using ad blockers.

The research found that more than one third (36%) of smartphone users in Asia Pacific are using ad blockers and that use of the technology is highest in emerging markets such as China, Indonesia, India and Pakistan, and surprisingly less prevalent in the West, where people are generally said to be less tolerant of advertising.

Source: PageFair

Source: PageFair

The study found that at least 419 million people are blocking ads on smartphones globally. China, India and Indonesia are reported 319 million active ad blocker browsers in March this year, as consumers show that they are not prepared to pay for data bundles that come with ads that are a drag on load times.

Stephan Loerke, CEO of the World Federation of Advertisers, commented: “Brands, whose money has driven the development of the online ad ecosystem, must take responsibility. We get the message loud and clear; we must listen to what people are saying and take action.”

Brands must focus on the causes to find sustainable solutions, and not blame consumers, the WFA has said.

The president of WFA, RBS CMO David Wheldon, said: “Advertising has always been cultural wallpaper and we have a duty of care to make it as attractive and engaging as possible so that people enjoy it, not want to shut it out.”

WFA has proposed that international standards are drawn up for digital advertising in consultation with consumers. The framework would allow consumers to establish clear preferences for the advertising they are willing to see, and their responses regularly monitored.

The PageFair report predicted that ad blocking on mobile devices would continue to grow in popularity in markets where data costs are high, and in these markets ad-funded content would not be allowed to flourish as a result.

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