iOS Ad Blockers Begin Dropping In Popularity

Danny Sullivan on
  • Categories: Channel: Display Advertising, Display Advertising: Ad Blocking
  • Just short of two weeks since ad blockers skyrocketed to the top of the iPhone paid app chart, only one remains in the top five, while a former number one has slipped to below 20th place.

    Within hours after iOS 9 came out on September 16, three ad blockers made it into the top 10 most popular paid apps for iPhone in the US market. The Peace ad blocker even took the number one spot:

    Peace dropped from the charts about two days later, when its creator, Marco Arment, killed the app over concern that it didn’t allow “well-behaved” ads through. The Crystal ad blocker quickly took over the number one spot, with Purify Blocker moving to fourth and Blockr to 20th.

    Crystal held its number one spot through at least last Thursday, when I did a check. Purify slipped to fifth. But on Monday (and through today), when I checked again, Crystal had plummeted to 21. Blockr wasn’t in the top 150, that I could spot:

    Purify did move up to number three, but this still means that it’s the first time since iOS 9 came out that no ad blocker is in the number one spot.

    Last week, Crystal announced that it would add support to allow ads on the Eyeo whitelist to be shown, if users deliberately choose to enable this. Eyeo is the company that makes the popular Adblock Plus blocker for desktop browsers.

    That support is not yet in place for Crystal. Again, even when it comes, it would have to be enabled by users. Still, the news might have created the impression that Crystal is purposely letting ads slip by now and by default, which might have harmed its popularity. Two of the top reviews for Crystal have concerns about this:

    It could also be that some users prefer that Purify allows for whitelisting sites they choose, something not possible with Crystal. Blockr, however, allows even more customization than Purify yet is buried in the charts.

    Back to Crystal, according to App Annie — which tracks app store rankings — the situation is even worse. While I see it at 21 in the top charts for iPhone paid apps, App Annie reports it 47th, with the drop from number one beginning last Thursday:

    Purify is reported as climbing higher at the same time, reaching number two for a day before coming back to number three:

    Blockr is reported at 432.

    Expect more ad blocking news later today. The IAB is holding a special press conference on the topic. We’ll be covering that here on Marketing Land, so stay tuned.


    About The Author

    Danny Sullivan
    Danny Sullivan was a journalist and analyst who covered the digital and search marketing space from 1996 through 2017. He was also a cofounder of Third Door Media, which publishes Search Engine Land, Marketing Land, MarTech Today and produces the SMX: Search Marketing Expo and MarTech events. He retired from journalism and Third Door Media in June 2017. You can learn more about him on his personal site & blog He can also be found on Facebook and Twitter.