10 Million Pakistanis Use Mobile Ad-Blockers: Report

When it comes to Mobile phone users allowing advertisements on their phones, statistics show that Pakistan is among the top countries where people block these ads. To be exact, 38 percent of Smartphone users in Pakistan have installed ad-blocking browsers on their devices.

The statistics about ad-blocking usage were published in the “2016 Mobile Adblocking Report”. It says that around 22 per cent of the world’s 1.9 billion smartphone users are blocking ads on the mobile web.

When compared to last year, this indicates a 90 percent increase in ad-blocker users.

How does Pakistan Compare with Other Countries?

In Pakistan, 10 million smartphone users have installed ad-blocking browsers, or about 38 percent of its mobile users.

If we compare this ratio with some other countries, it is much higher in India (with 61 percent) and Indonesia (with 66 percent).

The country having the highest number of ad-blocking browser users is China. It has 159 million users, or roughly 31 percent of its overall mobile phone subscribers.


Causes for Ad-blocking

One of the major causes behind the increasing usage of ad-blockers in Pakistan is an obvious one. Ads consume data, and the average Pakistani mobile internet user wants to make the most of their data limits.

High data costs make it difficult for users to accept data-consuming ads on their phones.


These ad-blocking browsers improve the page loading speed and provide users with effective control over online advertisement content.

Ad-blockers have made it to the most popular mobile browsers, which is evident from the fact that there are 408 million ad-blocking browsers as of March 2016.

Here are some of the most downloaded ad-blocking browsers:


How Does the West Fare?

In a striking contrast, ad-blockers are not being drastically adopted in Western countries. The biggest reason for this is the availability of affordable mobile data packages and greater bandwidth.

There were only 14 million monthly active users for mobile ad-blocking browsers in Europe and North America.

Android and iOS Users Think Differently about Ad-blocking

Android and iOS users think differently in this matter as well. Its shown in the report that iOS users in total downloaded only 4.5 million apps for content blocking purposes. This constitutes a limited contribution of iOS users when it comes to ad-blocking.

As for Android, many manufacturers are getting into the ad-blocking game themselves. OEMs are now pre-installing ad-blocking browsers with new Android-powered smartphones. One big example is that ASUS partnered with Adblock Plus to provide an ad-blocking browser on 30 million new handsets in 2016.

Expect the trend of ad-blocking to increase exponentially in the future.

Via PageFair

    • I doubt as well. How many of the users are aware of rooting their device to install ad-blocker or patch their host files? On the other hand, Opera mobile browser recently integrated ad-blocker into their browser but I don’t think it gave high spikes to the statistics

      • Uh,as u can see in the above article, people are using UC BROWSER to block ads and save data.
        It doesnt require root.
        And it is quite effective at its job.

  • Main reason people are using adblockers is that, most of entertainment sites including songs and Dramas sites are using too much pop ads as Adsense are not premitted on them, so they annoy people and they need to download Adblockers, even I downloaded only for song sites.

  • And how exactly do they justify using those ad-blockers? If you think a website has too many ads while providing too low a value, that is not a justification for using ad-blockers. The fact that you installed an ad-blocker to visit that site is clear proof that the content had some value to you. And you want to get that value without paying the freemium price. So basically you are stealing from the publisher, no matfer how you try to justify it.

    This is like saying “oh that shop was selling for so high prices I just got a tool that allows me to get it for free instead”. Aka stealing.

    • Simply put, if you think a website has too many ads and too little value, simply close the tab and go to some other site until you find that meets your requirement. As simple as that.

      P.s a lot of these people install these and are so ignorant they block even the non-intrusive ads from every publisher giving them high quality content. Thus virtually making it unviable for them to produce more quality content for them in return.

      • Not on Moral high ground, just my thoughts

        1. you got to be the owner of that site :P

        2. Its not that Ad is in series of content , but parallel to content. But there is such thing as
        aesthetics and subtle. How flashing poisonous green and red ad is helping anyone ? selling and being cheap is different (though the line is thin now days)

        3. how would you justify that many websites try to install their own softwares (malwares) browser toolbars and what not. Its just safe for not to click on ads. And that’s what i tell my not so geek friends and family members. and will keep doing untill website raise their standards.

      • @ignorant,. How many time you have checked source codes of windows u use of even firefox ?

        there is such programs as acceptable ad in adblock, educate, only than cry

        • Are you calling me an ignorant? If so, I must have touched some insecure nerves then.

          “How flashing poisonous green and red ad is helping anyone ?”

          So publishers need to follow your moral policing now? If you don’t like the way some publisher is monetizing, go to some other site that better suits your requirements instead of stealing from them. It is not your decision how a publisher can monetize, but it is your every right to not use theit service and go somewhere else. Is this too hard to understand?

          The argument for ad blockers is same as saying just because someone is not giving something on my terms means I am free to just forcibly take it from them without paying for it.

          P.s stop crying about malware, install malwarebytes and some other (real-time) internet protection software. Ad blockers have the purpose of blocking ads. For blocking malware we have tons of software out there specifically for that.

          • As i said before, I am not standing on any moral grounds. @ignorant, perhaps your wrong interpretations of customers is what causing problem here . re read bro and read thoroughly, Have a lovely day :)

            All my intentions was to tell my side of story so content developers can sort out the problem.

            • I said: its my point of view.
              you said: Now we have to follow your point of view

              whats my loos in it @insecure, oh should i cry that i cant see some ads ? :) come on

              something is problematic here in attitude. When was the time brother, when seller havent listened to consumer ?

              Never mind, it seems to hurt your ego instead of a healthy conversation. :) chill.

          • so, you say, user choose to close website if they dont like you. and also user should install the malware and security software, so no responsibility on website. I like your attitude, you should open a store chain :)

            • and i stand corrected, you are a pissed off website owner :P i dont blame you, but perhaps something is wrong with the way content is used that people are opting for adblockers. Dont take it on ego but work on it. Perhaps once in a while a we might not look to goras for soultiuons

              • You’re quite an amusing man. You try to be nice to me while at the same time calling me an “ignorant”. The fact that you had to write 4 responses (with paragraphs after another) says enough about who has ego problems.

                Good day to you Arif Saeed (and feel free to keep calling me an ignorant, not gonna waste any more time with you). Salve citizen! :)

                • Its my mistake, we take something so common, just to clear thing, @ means “talking about it” so when i said @ignorant it means, i am referring to the ignorant sentense you had in you original post. Good day to you too.

                  I take full responsibility of thinking people know meaning of @

                  • thankyou for educating people that writing several comments instead of one is linked to ego problem XD

                    • And i though i was one with less experience in forums

                      ” On some online forums without threaded discussions,
                      @ is used to denote a reply; for instance: “@Jane” to respond to a
                      comment Jane made earlier. Similarly, in some cases, @ is used for
                      “attention” in email messages originally sent to someone else. For
                      example, if an email was sent from Catherine to Steve, but in the body
                      of the email, Catherine wants to make Keirsten aware of something,
                      Catherine will start the line “@Keirsten” to indicate to Keirsten that
                      the following sentence concerns her. This also helps with mobile email
                      users who cannot see bold or color in email.”

                    • You my friend are officially a troll now. And I said “Salve citizen”, not “slave citizen”. Look up the difference XD

      • Only a web owner can feel the damage done by AdBlocker, destroying the web business badly.
        Because of some bad and irrelevant ads whole community is paying the price.

      • Mashallah boht akalmand ho ap. Tell me something. 1+1 = what? I hope you won’t say 3.

        “The ads on your site don’t pay for my bandwidth”

        YOU are the one trying to get something from the said website. The publisher of that site had two options, either charge you for access or show ads. They decided to go for the later. How the hell did your bandwidth become their responsibility? You are not the supplier in this case. You are the consumer (and a free consumer at that).

        “No one’s ‘forcibly grabbing’ content from sites by using an ad blocker”

        Haha yr boht hansany wali bat ki hy. Some sites use anti-adblockers. However people find patches to unblock those sites and get access, even though the owner of the said content has specifically banned their like from doing so. To mery bhai ab ap is ko “forcibly grabbing” ya “content stealing” nae kaha jae ga kia?

        P.s I am gonna clear this for once. I am in B2B industry myself and ads have nothing to do with my income (again, B2B). However I know a lot of friends who have sufferred due to these ad blockers used en mass.

  • Adblock Browser for Android by Eyeo GmbH: Total Downloads are 5 Million worldwide, then how 10 Million Pakistanis using this….lolz..

  • There is no theft here because nothing is taken that wasn’t given freely. It’s as if I place some items on a table on the side of the road and put up a sign saying they’re free but I’d appreciate a donation. I’ll repeat: no one is “forcibly grabbing” content. If the content was hidden behind a paywall and some browser extension let you view it without paying for it, that’s something else. But that’s not what’s happening here, with ads.

    Bandwidth: publishers create mobile-friendly web pages because they care about mobile users. Progressive web apps (look them up) are a major deal now. So, despite what you may think, publishers do care about how “heavy” their sites are. If they choose to offset the bandwidth savings of their mobile-friendly pages with ads, well, I have the choice of not dealing with that.

    Your suggestion to use some anti-malware software instead of ad blockers is pretty sad. Ad blockers are a lot better for power consumption than some antivirus/anti-malware service that runs continuously. So, not only do you not care about users’ bandwidth, you also don’t care about their battery life.

    I use ads on a site. It’s a freemium model, not unlike what you mentioned elsewhere. I make money from the people who pay for the service; the revenue I get from people who view or click on the ads is just a bonus that I do not depend on.

    There is nothing wrong with being a free consumer. The web is largely what it is because people can stumble across content they’re interested in, for free.

    Lastly, the one thing you didn’t mention is user tracking. A lot of ad blockers and similar extensions/browsers prevent companies from tracking you across websites. (It’s as if all your browsing is done in a Chrome incognito mode.) Do I really want Facebook tracking me when I visit any random site with a Facebook share/like button? No. And that’s what ad blockers give me: more control over my internet presence.

    • I appreciate the fact that you are sharing your viewpoint and not trolling like that other guy. To be honest with you, ads are not a donation but a price. You can’t put on your site “donate by clickinh ads”, that would get you banned from every ad network out there. Ads are how the publishers make income, and the fact that they don’t give you an option to turn off the ads on their site means that that’s the price you are paying for your access.

      The person selling those items (from your example) clearly mentioned they don’t have to donate to get access to those items (thats what makes it a donation). However, the site owner / publisher has ads on their site by default for everyone and has put no option to disable those ads on their site. Hence it’s a price you are paying to get access to the given item. See the difference?

      • If I can view content without viewing the ads, and also without bypassing some security mechanism on the site, then the content is out there with the expectation that it’ll earn the publishers money, but the publishers are aware that it might not. That’s what makes it like the donation model. The content is important, the revenue is not. It’s very unlikely that anyone using this model breaks even based on just the ad revenue.

        Then there are other sites that create massive amounts of low quality content SEO’d to show up higher in search results, and surround it by ads for the sole purpose of making money. I have no sympathy for them.

        Depending on web ads for revenue is like depending on CD sales to support music companies: a model that’s on its way out.

        > However, the site owner / publisher has ads on their site by default for everyone and has put no option to disable those ads on their site.

        I turn ads off for people who pay to use my web services. I see no reason why other web publishers can’t do the same. If people won’t pay for their content, then what are we to infer about their content?

        • Just wait for the day when you will have to buy subscribtion of a site to access it if things continue like this.

          • So, how about an experiment? Maybe Propakistani is willing to do it.

            1. sign up for EasyPay
            2. set up a login system for users
            3. users who sign in and pay Rs 300/month get to view the site without ads

            Rs 300 is nothing for most people — just Rs 10/day, on average.

            Let’s see how many people go for it. I guess that’ll tell us what the content is worth to the users, right?

        • “The content is important, the revenue is not”

          I don’t think I even have to explain this one.

          ” It’s very unlikely that anyone using this model breaks even based on just the ad revenue.”

          Omg dude. Stop making ridiculous assumptions. I know over a dozen people, personally, who are making full time income ($4000+ a month) monetizing 100% through ads only because, like it or not, 99% of the people won’t pay anything or donate anything to get access to some content they were getting for free. Many sites have already tried a paywall and it never works. Unless they are in some special niche (like for example, options trading, how to make money, and so on). Majority of the sites monetizing solely through advertisements are generic niche sites where there is no technical stuff to cover.

          Let’s take WikiHow for an example. They have quite decent content by most standards. Certainly well presented. Now if they were to disable ads and create a paywall where users must pay them a monthly fee to access content, I am willing to bet you, everything I have, that not even 1% of their traffic will opt for the paid plan. All of their traffic will be happy with the ads. And if they try to force the paywall, they will lose 90% of their revenue way too easily. And this is a ridiculously huge site we are talking. Publishers on much smaller scale have 0.001% chance of making it with monthly subscription model. Thats why they have ads.

          • > I know over a dozen people, personally, who are making full time income ($4000+ a month) monetizing 100% through ads only

            All right, show us your dozens of sites — with useful content. I’ll repeat: there are many sites that create massive amounts of low quality content, surrounded by ads for the sole purpose of making money. Many of the articles on this site, for example, are just regurgitated crap, often with wild inaccuracies.

            > Majority of the sites monetizing solely through advertisements are generic niche sites where there is no technical stuff to cover.

            I don’t know how you managed to fit both “generic” and “niche” in one sentence, but I’d like to see these non-“technical stuff” sites.

            WikiHow is a bad example because making profit is deliberately not its main aim. And, all you have to do to turn ads off is to simply login. That’s it! No money involved! They make it easy! They are partnered with Google for Contribute, so people can pay them if they want to.

            • Quality is not as simple as 1-2-3 but completely subjective. If you have to install an adblocker to access a site without ads, instead of just going to some other site, then that means that content had value to you.

              Anyway I don’t see this going anywhere. I suppose we’ll just have to agree to disagree. Good luck with your work.

              • It’s even worse than that — when I visit sites, I don’t visit ALL their content! Think of all the time and effort they made to copy/paste/rewrite content and I didn’t even click to read 90% of it (and give them ad impressions)! I must be a thief.

        • Let me give you a local example. PTCL has basically maintained a monopoly on game servers now too. Almost 70-80% of the servers are owned by PTCL. Somewhere north of a quarter million players play on their servers combined a month, minimum. As ping is extremely in important in most online games and their servers have 40ms for most players (its like 220 on servers abroad and 0% playable). What PTCL did was they tried to charge a mere Rs.200 per month for it to their users, and they made the payment as easy as 2 clicks (just subscribe and payment will be on your dsl bill). Guess what happened? No one signed up and they had to go back to free within 1 week. And this is a company that people know won’t at least steal their payments. However when it comes to some small online publisher, no one will trust them.

          * ProPakistani has some very old and loyal readers, and still it won’t be able to go past single digit percentage of total users. In fact, it is far far more likely they won’t be able to convert even 1% of their monthly unique visitors. Would love to them try, but am certain it will be the biggest flop.

          • > And this is a company that people know won’t at least steal their payments.

            No, they just pretend to provide services while taking your payments.

    • You were given something “freely” because advertisers are paying to publishers on your behalf. Publishers can make money only when ads are displayed. You block them then no earning for publisher and he would have to shutdown his site some day. No site owner is running a charity organization for you.

      • > Publishers can make money only when ads are displayed.

        Publishers who depend on ads for their sole source of revenue, yes. That model is on its way out.

        Really, you’re all missing the point here. It’s my computer or phone. I should decide what runs on it. I don’t want ads on my screen, so I block them.

        If a web ads company asked you to install a browser plugin on your computer that shows ads on websites, would you do it? If you say “yes”, my followup question is: why haven’t you yet?

        • I am sure very soon for using Google search and its partner sites you will be needing an ads free subscription. Once you subscribe and open any partner site, you won’t be shown ads but publisher will make money as per your pageviews. Then don’t complain that internet has become expensive. I will surely use that model to get money from people like you for even visiting my sites. Let me teach you dumb man, whenever you visit any site, you put the load on the servers on which the site is hosted. Once the site grows, publishers need to move sites to more powerful hosting and that increases their expenses. Now you want free lunch from publishers like me while I will have to pay for your “free” lunch.

          • Having worked on hosting web sites since 1994, I think I know a bit about “load on servers.”

            Trust me, you won’t catch me complaining about some site of yours that has content I don’t find compelling enough to pay for today, let alone a few years from now.

            Consider signing up to Google Contributor when it’s available in Pakistan.

            • Mr Expert knows about load on servers? Let me tell you more. One of my site is getting 4000 page views per day and it is already consuming 25-50% resources. Once it doubles, I will have to move it to Cloud VPS. A good VPS with cpanel will easily cost me 5000 – 8000 rupees/month. Once traffic increased by 5 or 6 times, I will be needing dedicated server. A good dedicated server costs 9000 – 50,000 or more per month depending upon your needs. So Mr Expert, we need money to run our sites. And money comes from the ads. You block them we are out of business.

              • 4000 page views a day averages out to 2.7 page views a minute. You should look into why your load is so high. My guess is switching from PHP to static site generators wherever possible should get you 5-10x the page views on the same server hardware, depending on I/O bandwidth, etc. I’ve load-tested to handle 100-125+ requests/second on an old AWS m1.medium instance (about 4000 bogomips) four years ago. That includes DB inserts.

                I don’t know how many other ways I can say it, Mr Free Online Services Inc. Ad blockers are here to stay, and their use will continue to grow. How you adapt to deal with them is up to you. Since I don’t visit your sites, or plan to, I neither contribute to your revenue or load.

                • He’s using WordPress most likely and believe me WP can eat crazy amount of resources. Any dynamic CDM for that matter. It all comes down to the type of website you have. As sites with lots of media rich content can eat up resources way too fast.

                  As for switching from Php to static, although it is the best thing to do where possible, but its not possible in most situations. Most publishers don’t know much about coding and hence use WordPress to begin with (lots of tutorials and themes +plugins to get going). Hiring a designer is out of the budget of most, and working out the right custom design is easier said than done (as those with no design and coding experience will find it very hard to communicate details correctly). But even bigger cause is that most of the times sites have way too many dynamic features, which makes it almost impossible to switch to static (unless you’re really good at coding, design etc., and willing spend endless hours working on it or you have a huge budget to hire someone else to seperate all the static parts and put everything together without completing messing up the security)

                • Don’t need novice advice from someone who does not know how a site works. You just generalized 2.7 page views per minute ignoring the spikes in traffic that happens several times a day.

                  • Enlighten us, then. What are your peaks? What have you done to mitigate the effects of your surges? Do you use ZEND? HHVM? Google’s free mod_pagespeed? 4k/day is simply not impressive, especially when you claim your load doesn’t even max out the CPU.

                    • Suppose 10 simultaneous users each viewing 2 pages per minute ads up to 20 pageviews per minute. With just 4000 pageviews and over 300 pages on a site, there is a great probability of 10s of pageviews per second. Last month for three consecutive days, pageviews peaked at 10,000 pageviews per day but luckily my current hosting handled that with just temporary limiting of I/O and CPU resources. But why am I telling you this? Who are you anyway with whom I should discuss how to run my sites.

                    • I’m the guy you’ve failed to convince with the argument that ads are good for me.

                      No worries. Like I said, I have ads, but I also have a paid model where people don’t see ads. I depend on the latter for revenue, which means I absolutely must improve the quality of my services.

                    • A guy with his stupid “blogger” hosted “screaming modems” site wants me to convince him. Nice try.

        • There is a clear difference between “I don’t agree with your way of monetizing so I’m not gonna use your site” and “I’m going to destroy your method of monetization but don’t think I’m getting off your website”. The first I completely agre with and all users have the right to do so. But the second is unethical and should be illegal (not for the users themselves, but their enablers).

          • There’s nothing unethical about deciding what I want to use my computer’s (or phone’s) resources for. If ads are bad for battery life, or make my browser tabs bloated, they go. My computer, my rules.

            Hey, would you buy a car that forced you to display an ad on its back? Of course not. Your car, your rules.

            • Off course I won’t. Using your very same example, that means I will not buy from them but go to someone else right? To say that I don’t agree with the fact they are showing an ad on the car, I’m just gonna rip off the ad and take the car without paying for it won’t be quite legal, let alone ethical no?

              Anyway I think you have misunderstood me. My whole point is that I’m not against the users simply installing ad blocking software. What I’m against is that when publishers explicitly block adblock users from using their site, but those users install other software to break that block. That is exactly what I would call stealing.

              What I’m saying is, the only legit and ethical use of ad blocking software (my opinion only, but I’m sure a lot will agree) are:

              * If the site uses a blocking system to restrict access for users who are using ad blocking software, simply leave the site or follow their demand of turning off ad block to access their site.

              * Most of the time we don’t have any past history with some specific site, so what do we do in that case? Keep ad block on, visit the site. Evaluate from the layout, headings, the vacant ad spots etc. to determine whether its of value to you or not. If you want to continue reading, whitelist the site (or just for that session). But if you think it’s not worth the ads, close and get off the site.

              What do you say? Do you not think this is fair for both readers and publishers?

              • People use software to break Youtube’s video player such that it can’t load those pre-roll ads. What are your thoughts on that? As those pre-roll ads are how the video makers mostly make their cash (unless its a niche with lots of other monetization options) and Youtube clearly has those ads before the video because thats the price of your “free” streaming on there (among other ads)?

                • Ads on Youtube are not a viable revenue source — even if no one blocks the ads. This is a well-known fact.

                  Which brings us back to what I wrote earlier: depending on ads is something people have to stop doing.

              • I agree that it’s your opinion, and not mine.

                When I come across a site that requires me to turn off an ad blocker to see content, I simply leave. No reputable site has yet forced me to turn it off, though — just random sites I’ve run into online.

                (For that matter, turning Javascript on disables their ads and adblocker checks and lets me read the content, usually without fancy fonts.)

    • Does UCBrowser actually has Ablocker ok by default?? How ironic given that their browser is the number one thing all malware and adwares promote on the internet. Go to any site that’s worth adblocking and majority of the time those annoying ads would be for UC Browser (I can’t even count the number of times UCBrowser listing opened on my PlayStore when visiting some random site). Quite ironic!

      • I am not sure about the default thing but the above survey is classifying it as an adblocker. And yes UC Browser advertises heavily itself so it’s quite ironic indeed

  • Non intrusive ads should not be blocked and personally, I disable adblocker on all sites which I visit often. Adblockers should have a whitelist and they should advice users to disable it on sites which are heavily dependent on ads or whose ads don’t affect experience

  • By the way, the biggest software vendor “AdBlock” charges Google, Microsoft, Amazon and even Taboola over millions of dollars to let their ads through (Google alone probably pays north of 50-100 million dollars annually, as AdBlock says they take 30% of the revenue generatd after whitelisting). Tell me the difference between this and bhatta mafia in karachi?

    • You are aware that there are other adblock plugins, right? Ones that are free, open source, have no such filters to let “good” ads through?

      Simple solution: don’t use Adblock/Adblock Plus. I switched to “ublock origin” a long time ago. Paired with Privacy Badger and HTTPS Everywhere, my web experience is largely ad-free, and tracker-free.

      • You do realize that AdBlock is almost the de facto software used on desktop for ad blocking (with almost 200 million active users)? Anyway I can see adblockers are only going to get bigger but the thing is it’s only a matter of time before those advertisement platforms with billions of dollars will come up with something.

        • > You do realize that AdBlock is almost the de facto software used on desktop for ad blocking

          And educating them is what I’ve done after I switched away. Whenever I see ABP on a co-worker’s computer, I point them to the chart that shows ublock origin uses less memory and CPU than ABP or other alternatives.

          That gets them to switch.

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