Industries in Depth

Adblockalypse! Everything you need to know

Murray Nicol
Global Leadership Fellow, World Economic Forum
Our Impact
What's the World Economic Forum doing to accelerate action on Industries in Depth?
The Big Picture
Explore and monitor how The Digital Economy is affecting economies, industries and global issues
A hand holding a looking glass by a lake
Crowdsource Innovation
Get involved with our crowdsourced digital platform to deliver impact at scale
Stay up to date:

The Digital Economy

When Apple launched iOS9 for iPhone, not only did they bring a new operating system to market but they may have changed the entire landscape of the internet as we know it.

Welcome to the “adblockalypse”. The operating system that ships with the iPhone 6S includes an important feature that allows users to install ad-blocking software on Apple’s Safari web browser, much to the chagrin of online publishers and advertisers. This type of software prevents display advertising from appearing on websites, and with many publishers relying on advertising dollars in order to survive, this new feature effectively gives consumers the ability to shut down this revenue stream.

Ad-blocking software has long been available on desktop computers, so should publishers be concerned about this move to mobile? A recent study by PageFair, in partnership with Adobe, shows a global increase of 41% in the use of ad blockers between 2014 and 2015. What is alarming for web publishers is that these statistics are from before the launch of iOS9 and its ad blocking capabilities.

ad-blocking-software (1)

So what does this mean in terms of actual advertising dollars being lost? According to the report, 2015 will see the global economic cost of blocked ads increase almost two-fold, and the predictions for 2016 see the number doubling again. This represents an astonishing $41.4 billion in lost revenue for web publishers.


The question now is how is how web publishers will respond to this latest challenge. This proliferation of ad blockers means that web content providers will need to come up with new and creative ways to integrate ads in their website and continue generating revenue. At the same time, consumers who use ad blockers may need to get used to an entirely new internet experience, and it remains to be seen whether they will like the new landscape that they have helped create.

Have you read?
5 tips for online advertising
Tim Berners-Lee: ‘What’s the dollar value of the web?’
Is the age of the marketing department over?

Author: Murray Nicol is Digital Manager at the World Economic Forum

Image: French filmmaker Eleonore Pourriat sits at a computer in Paris February 14, 2014. REUTERS/Charles Platiau

Don't miss any update on this topic

Create a free account and access your personalized content collection with our latest publications and analyses.

Sign up for free

License and Republishing

World Economic Forum articles may be republished in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International Public License, and in accordance with our Terms of Use.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author alone and not the World Economic Forum.

World Economic Forum logo
Global Agenda

The Agenda Weekly

A weekly update of the most important issues driving the global agenda

Subscribe today

You can unsubscribe at any time using the link in our emails. For more details, review our privacy policy.

How these 5 steel producers are taking action to decarbonize steel production

Mandy Chan and Daniel Boero Vargas

June 25, 2024

About Us



Partners & Members

  • Sign in
  • Join Us

Language Editions

Privacy Policy & Terms of Service

© 2024 World Economic Forum