Our new study on ad blocking in the Nordics is good news for the media industry. Ad blocking is on the decline! Or at least it is in Denmark. However, ad blocking is still very much a problem for the rest of the Nordic countries, showing a slight increase in Sweden and substantial growth in Norway.

In Denmark, several websites have been blocking ad blockers from accessing their content, which has undoubtedly had an effect on the use of ad blocking. In the other Nordic countries, ad blocking is close to 20%.

Fortunately for the publishers across all the Nordic countries, ad blocking on mobiles is not an issue at all – and does not seem to be picking up speed either.


Wide usage in Sweden

When looking at how many people say they ad block*, we see that 36% of the internet population in the Nordic countries aged 15 years or above use ad blocking on one or more devices. Again, Denmark is at the bottom with 29%, followed by Finland with 30%, Norway with 34% and finally Sweden as the country with the highest penetration by far, with 43% of the internet users.


Ad blocking used on private computers and mobile devices for work

The private computer is the primary device that is being ad blocked, with 33% of all people with access to a private computer using ad blockers on this device, compared to 24% using ad blockers on their work or school computers.

For mobile devices, it’s far less, in the same way that we could see in the actual ad blocking. Only 12% use ad blockers on their own mobile and 14% on their own tablet. Interestingly, more people use ad blockers on their work tablets and mobiles.


Great difference across demographics

Also, demographic ranges show a wide difference in usage. Far more men compared to women are blocking ads. Among males above 15 years of age, 43% are blocking ads compared to just 28% among females. However, Swedish women stand out most with 37% of them using ad blockers.

Not surprisingly, we see a far higher penetration among young people aged 15-25 years, with 56% of ‘ad blockers’ compared to just 20% among people aged 56 years or older. Again, Sweden stands out as the country that mostly challenges this tendency, as those in the age group of 36-55 are blocking ads to a greater extent than those in the 26-35 year-old age group in the other Nordic countries.

Ad blockers whitelist websites

Even though the development in the use of ad blocking might not be encouraging for all Nordic countries, we see that a large proportion of the ad blockers have whitelisted selected websites where the ad blocker is deactivated and the ads on the websites are allowed to be loaded. Among the people using ad blockers, 38% have whitelisted one or more websites.


Interestingly enough, we see that there are three clear-cut top reasons for whitelisting.
62% explain they are whitelisting because the content on the website is blocked when the ad blocker is active, which is the top reason for whitelisting. But there are other underlying causes for whitelisting websites. Among the Nordic ad blockers, 35% whitelist because they want to support the website with ad revenue, while 27% whitelist because the ads on the website don’t disturb the user experience. Only a few have stated other reasons for whitelisting.

Get further insights

Download the study below to gain additional insights into the use of ad blocking in the Nordics. Enjoy!

* Methodology

In our study we have used two different methodologies to analyse the current level of ad blocking in the Nordics; a technical approach and a survey-based method. What we call ‘actual ad blocking’ is based on the technical detection of ad blocking and is a session-based metric. This tells us how many sessions have been blocking ads on a specific device. Our survey tells us how many people believe they use ad blockers on a specific device. As the average person gains access to more and more devices, there will be a growing discrepancy between actual ad blocking on a session level and the number of people who are blocking ads. Another source for the discrepancy is whether the installed ad blocker actually works and is updated or if it is currently deactivated. If not, the user will still correctly say he/she uses an ad blocker, but it will still be detected, as it does not actively block the ads in the test.