Advertisers are unknowingly wasting 11.5% of their budgets by serving ads to users with ad blockers installed.

THE QUESTION:

Fraudlogix, an ad fraud solution provider, set out to answer a basic question: are advertisers unknowingly paying to serve ads to users who have adblockers installed? And if so, to what extent?

SHORT ANSWER:

Yes, based on our findings, advertisers are unknowingly spending an average of 11.5% of their budgets in the desktop environment and 3% in the mobile environment attempting to serve ads to users who have adblockers installed.

DISCOVERY METHOD

Fraudlogix analyses traffic on over 1 billion unique users monthly across 300 million URLs and apps via a JavaScript pixel. Through this process, we served invisible “dummy” ads to see if an ad blocker was installed on a portion of the ads that were purchased in the programmatic bid stream environment. The method used to identify adblockers was in line with the one recommended by the IAB.

We analysed just over 2.5 billion impressions over a 1-week period (from 5/14/2020 – 5/20/2020), and discovered that in certain cases our ad verification code was served within the ad tag; however, our “dummy ad” was blocked. This occurred in 11.5% of desktop impressions and 3.1% of mobile impressions. This indicates that in some cases ad requests are entering the bidding environment even though users have an ad blocker installed. Advertisers bid as usual, resulting in wasted ad budgets. (See “Additional Data” below.)

EFFECTS ON KPI

Once the study results were in, we set out to gauge what effect this had on advertiser KPIs, and more importantly, what can be done to minimize this in a pre-bid environment.

 

We analysed our global, community-driven data set and found that certain IPs had an extremely high propensity of being associated with ad blockers, meaning that we witnessed adblockers enabled on most of the impressions served to those IPs (via the same method outlined above).

 

We then analysed 2,517 separate advertiser campaigns that ran during a 5 day period (May 15, 2020 – May 20, 2020), totalling 150,240,099 impressions, and compared the click through rates and costs per conversion (per sale, lead, etc.) resulting from ads served to the “ad blocker IPS” compared to the “non-ad blocker IPs”.

 

The results indicate that advertiser’s cost per conversion is roughly three times higher when serving ads to IPs that have an elevated propensity of being associated with users who have adblockers enabled vs. those who do not. See results below.

 

Ad Blocker Status

Cost Per Click

Cost Per Conversion

No Adblocker $ 0.70 $ 10.19
Medium Ad Blocker Propensity $ 1.26 $ 17.54
High Ad Blocker Propensity $ 1.53 $ 28.69
Extreme Ad Blocker Propensity $ 1.76 $ 30.22

ADDITIONAL DATA

Date range: 5/14/2020 – 5/20/2020


Total impressions analysed: 2,561,912,038


Total mobile impressions:  1,062,273,944
Mobile impressions with ad blockers enabled: 32,744,432 (3.1%)


Total desktop impressions:  1,417,593,664
Desktop impressions with ad blockers enabled: 163,023,271 (11.5%)


Total tablet impressions: 82,044,430
Tablet impressions with ad blockers enabled: 1,575,253 (1.92%)