Who suffers the most? Companies that provide video and pop-up ads to Web browsers—like video ads on YouTube or pop-ups on any number of websites. Blanchfield points to Internet giants Google, Yahoo and AOL among others.
"The challenge now is to make sure that some publishers can stay in business. The problem isn't that ad blocking exists; the problem is that 200 million people have chosen to download ad blockers," said Blanchfield. "The solution is to reintroduce ads but do it in such a respectful way that people don't choose to hide ads."
Who's best-positioned? All the companies who deliver ads within apps—that means Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and even Twitter, who weave ads into their platforms.
Facebook appears to understand that advantage. "Most ad-blocking software is focused on browsers and display ads instead of ads shown in apps," said a spokesperson for the company.
"In our case specifically, ad blockers haven't had as much impact—in part because the bulk of ads shown on/by Facebook are delivered on Facebook and in other apps that integrate with us ... Ad blockers are generally not as effective because they attempt to block entire types of content and can interfere with functionality that people want to receive," the spokesperson said in an email.
It's true that there's no way right now to block ads that appear within apps. But PageFair's Blanchfield doesn't expect it to remain this way forever.
"Ad blocking is mainstream on the desktop. The next stop is that it'll go mainstream on the mobile Web. After that in-app ads will be the next target," said Blanchfield.