How many South Africans use ad-blockers – and which sites are hit the hardest

News24, South Africa’s biggest news website, recently blocked users with ad-blockers from accessing its site.

When navigating to News24 with an ad-blocker on, users were presented with a landing page with the heading “Truth Matters” and text stating “we noticed that you are using software that blocks ads”.

Two prominent options were then presented:

  • Pay for an Ad-Free Experience – For only R49.99/month you can browse News24.com Ad-Free without interruptions!
  • Have Ads pay for the news – Simply whitelist News24.com on your ad-blocker and ads will pay for your browsing experience.

At the bottom of the page in smaller print is a third option, which states “Continue without supporting us”. Clicking this takes users to the News24 site.

The solution is powered by Admiral, which specialises in ad-block revenue recovery. To find out about the effect of ad-blockers in South Africa, MyBroadband spoke to Admiral CEO Dan Rua.

Ad-blockers in SA

Rua said that in South Africa they have measured an average of 15% of site visitors using ad-blockers.

“The rates vary based upon the content of the site. For example, tech sites can be 20%-30% blocking rates,” said Rua.

Gaming sites are hit even harder, and ad-block rates can measure over 50%.

“Although mobile blocking rates are growing the fastest, desktop blockers like AdblockPlus account for most ad-blocking in South Africa.”

While ad-block users will argue that using the tool provides a better user experience for them, there is a financial impact on websites.

“Because ad-blockers circumvent ad calls from working, the South African websites they visit simply don’t get credit for the ads and thus don’t get paid by advertisers for the content consumed by ad-blocking visitors,” said Rua.

“When blocking rates are 15%-30%, that means revenue losses are at least that large.”

He added that adblock visitors are more valuable than the average visitor, which means revenue losses can be higher than the simple adblock rates reported.

“That can mean newsroom layoffs or ultimately informative, empowering sites run by a small team simply have to shut down.”

Ad-block recovery

With reports stating that over 600 million devices block ads worldwide, the ad-block recovery industry has grown, said Rua.

Admiral currently works with 14,000 publishers worldwide, and helps sites with ad revenue recovery and growing visitor relationships.

“We’re big believers in finding the right value exchange for the right visitor – not assuming that one size fits all,” he said.

“That’s why our visitor relationship management platform can be configured to offer visitors a mix of options, including whitelisting, an ad-lite experience, email or social subscribe for ad-free, and supporting memberships.”

“Most ad-blockers still want the sites they visit regularly to survive, so offering free and paid options gives them multiple ways to support the content they consume.”

Now read: Netflix working on interactive TV shows

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How many South Africans use ad-blockers – and which sites are hit the hardest