Quick Q&A - Ad blocking

Read our quick Q&A all about ad blocking.

What is it? 

Software that allows people to prevent ads from appearing when they are online. This has come about because some digital ads aren’t great, by which we mean they aren’t very polite in terms of how they appear and download. Because they find these ads annoying, some people have taken the drastic move of blocking all digital advertising.  

Who does it affect? 

Primarily it has a devastating impact on publishers - anyone from The Guardian to your local news site as they all rely on this value exchange - free content paid for by advertising. If their ads are blocked, they can't charge advertisers for serving them, and that means they can't pay journalists or engineers to create the content and services the people want and have come to expect for free. Ultimately this means many sites that currently offer free content with advertising would be forced to charge subscriptions to anyone who wants to visit their site.

How is the IAB working with industry to address this? 

The IAB believes in an ad-funded internet - this is the foundation of the web - free information and content for all.  We are working with our members to ensure the best ad experiences online are encouraged, that file limits are respected and consumers enjoy a smoother internet.

As part of the Coalition for Better Ads, we released guidance on ads which are proven to frustrate people and therefore ones for advertisers to avoid. 

We're working globally on the LEAN principles, a set of simple standards for the production of better ads. Technically this means lighter in file size and delivering a much better user experience.

When will things change?

When the industry accepts the issues some people have with advertising and proactively responds. Like all big industry changes we expect to see some players leading from the front - Procter and Gamble have already thrown their hat in the ring to support better advertising and only work with those that commit to key principles and processes.  Likewise, we've seen lots of polite and considerate advertising that does think about the people viewing it, but there is much more to be done.

Where can I find out more?

Email any questions or comments you have to [email protected]

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