Adblocking will ‘never go beyond 30%’

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A senior executive at a major adblocking company says the technology has developed as a ‘blunt instrument’ and said he does not expect the saturation levels of the technology to go much past 28% of people globally.

Speaking in Austin, Texas, on an SXSW panel on the rise of adblockers and the issues presented to publishers, Ben Williams, the Germany-based American-born head of operations for Adblock Plus said they wanted to make the tech “less like a baseball bat and more like a scalpel”.

He was speaking alongside chief product officer for publisher Forbes, New York-based Lewis Dvorkin, who insisted the company was not “going to war” with people using adblockers, despite moving to block people who have installed them from using its site in December. Also on the panel was Maryland-based Marjorie Gray (Dish).

Forbes is among several publishers to have taken steps to battle adblocking software, used by people to get rid of display ads from websites to save visual clutter, save data on mobile devices and speed up their browsing.

Adblock Plus’ Williams applauded the move by Forbes, saying other publishers who had taken measures to ban adblockers had not done similar tests with their audience to uncover what the problem was, which he described as “dumb”.

“Adblocking is probably never going to reach saturation point – it’s probably not going to get above 26-28%,” he said. “With the rest of them have as much fun as you want.”

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