A year ago, we released the very first version of our desktop browser with native ad blocking. We did it to double the browsing speed and challenge the online ad industry, pushing the idea that there should be a switch towards more user-friendly ads.

Since then, more people than ever have started to block ads all around the world. Now it’s time to review what else has changed since then.

 

Bloated ads haven’t gone away

A few months after we released native ad blocking in Opera, the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) set new standards for light, non-intrusive online ad formats based on its LEAN principles. It was definitely a step in the right direction, but whether it’s widely implemented by the ad industry in the future is the next question.

Right now, we are concerned that the switch towards lighter ads is moving too slow, causing the demand for ad blocking to continue to increase.

 

The size of webpages keeps growing

At the same time, the size of the average website is still growing. One reason for this growth is because of online ads gobbling up more bandwidth than ever, causing webpages to load more slowly. For publishers and e-commerce sites, an increase in loading time leads directly to a decrease in revenue.

ad blocker in Opera browser: one year review, ad blocking, speed, web page size infographic


Source: https://www.keycdn.com/support/the-growth-of-web-page-size/

 

Slow ads and privacy concerns cause growth of ad blockers

Privacy and tracking of online behavior are other growing concerns, leading people to be more conscious about using an ad blocker. However, the number of trackers online hasn’t decreased over last year, and it’s still a central component for ad networks to gather your information and profile you across websites.

Taking these concerns into account, it’s no wonder that more and more people are starting to block online ads. According to a PageFair report, 236 million people were using desktop ad block software in December 2016, and we can see that among mobile users the growth has been even more dramatic.

ad blocker in Opera browser: one year review, ad blocking, speed, which devices use ad block graph


Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/pagefair-2017-ad-blocking-report-2017-1

 

Most Opera users have not activated native ad blocking yet

Since releasing Opera’s ad blocking feature a year ago, although we observed a growing number of Opera users blocking ads right from the browser, only one-third of all Opera desktop users are making use of the feature. This is because the ad blocking feature is currently activated through a setting inside the browser preferences, rather than switched on by default.

ad blocker in Opera browser: one year review, ad blocking, speed, country geo usage infographic

We can also see that the usage of native ad blocking varies across countries. The biggest percentage of Opera users that use this feature can be found in Canada, followed by the UK, US, France, and Germany.

 

Ad block extensions are still too slow

Following the demand for ad-free browsing, we saw a growing number of ad block extensions. However, they are simply not fast enough. Our research* shows that browsing with Opera’s ad blocking feature is on average 50% faster compared to browsing on Google Chrome with the AdBlock Plus extension.

In addition to page loading, we decided to look at the startup time for browsers and whether ad blockers actually slow you down rather than speed you up. A cold start is when the browser is opened for the first time after an operating system reboot, while a warm start is when the browser has been restarted.  You will find the complete methodology of this test at the end of this blog post.

ad blocker in Opera browser: one year review, ad blocking, speed test comparison chart graph infographic, chrome, microsoft edge, firefoxWe were surprised to see the big difference in the results when comparing Opera with native ad blocker to the other browsers with the extensions enabled. Looking, for example, at warm startup times, Opera with native ad blocker is 87% faster than Microsoft Edge and 143% faster than Mozilla Firefox. It also performs better on a cold start when compared to competitors.

 

Built-in benchmarking tool

Opera’s ad blocking feature, unlike ad block extensions, also gives you a great looking tool to check your speed improvement per web page. To compare a web page’s load speed with and without ad blocking, click the shield icon and then the “speed test” link at the bottom of pop up.

ad blocker in Opera browser: one year review, ad blocking, speed test example website daily telegraph without ads

Our stand on ad blocking is unchanged

While talking to our users we can hear the negative effect online ads are having on them, even louder and clearer than last year. A shift towards less intrusive and privacy-friendly online ad practices is more urgent in 2017 than it was a year ago. Brands and advertisers need to finally understand this.
It’s time for us to repeat our stand:

We are taking the user’s side in the debate about ad blockers, which is why we will offer built-in, native ad blockers to our hundreds of millions of users.

And we’ll do it until the problem is solved. The change must happen. We all deserve a better, faster web.

 

Stay tuned for improvements

We will continue this mission by making our native ad blocking feature even better this year. You can expect to see the first steps in this process this spring. Stay tuned for more speed and a more user-friendly experience.

As for now, we only provide native ad blocking as a preference. This may change, as we are currently evaluating whether we should help people be more active in blocking ads going forward.

Let us know what you think!

*

About our test methodology:

We conducted our tests on the 9 most popular websites worldwide (according to SimilarWeb). For each browser we repeated the tests 10 times. Our internal tests were performed on a machine running Windows 10 x64 using an i7-6500U CPU and 8 GB RAM. A cold start is the time a browser needs to fully load while starting it for the first time after a system reboot. A warm start occurs when we start our browser for the (at least) second time.

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  • Eugene Tareyev

    “Most Opera users have not activated native ad blocking yet”
    Native adblocker doesn’t block as nearly as good as uBlock Origins as example. And it can’t be tweaked — there is literally no settings. Heck even subscription to adblock rules and lists are unintuitive as possible. And moreover — there is no way to manually block page elements.

    • Kornelia

      Updates are coming..

      • Eugene Tareyev

        Glad to hear it.

      • Gresthol

        I hope so

      • Ari

        Tried built-in but felt less blocker and less speedy than uBlock. I would suggest Opera team to keep working and develop your ad-blocker having in your horizon at uBlock, that’s the train to catch guys not ABP. When you get there, I will happily use your blocker.

      • Ahmed AL-Jaber

        Opera please add this feature : Block larger media in certain size like Ublock Origin have,

    • Ariane Lu

      Try use ABP rule

    • BF3000

      Looks like the only blockers Opera guys check is the adblock and adblock plus.
      But there is uBlock and Adguard and maybe some other blockers wich is faster and block more, and Opera guys didn’t count them as one.

  • Vojtech

    Hi. Why popup blocking doesnt work all the time? Thank you.

  • PakSae

    Please check with http://www.naver.com.
    Loading with ads is sometimes faster…

    • Кostadin

      Strange indeed. 4/5 tests were faster without ads.

  • ga_pechorin

    opera adblock is far worse than other options. maybe it is faster because it blocks less

  • Davide Repetto

    It would be nice to make this same test with “opera + no-blocking”, “opera + ublock” and maybe even”opera + ublock + builtin block”

  • Animated ads & other ads that cause CPU spikes, and others that cause page reloads are why I started using ad blockers

  • oic

    could opera please remove recently closed tabs to show more than 10

  • Кostadin

    Personally, I like the feature very much but I prefer to keep it disabled most of the time. That’s because most information sites detect when there’s an ad-blocker and do not display content until the user disables it.

  • Bancor

    Ad blocking was a very important feature, and I did activate it since its first release.
    The problem has been that, at least here in Italy, a lot of sites (newspapers and not only…) ask to switch off the ad blocking to read their articles and/or to play their videos.
    Not so fair, but compulsory…
    Nonetheless, I remain a warm supporter of this feature and I’ll appreciate any further implementation: sooner or later someone will have to change his mind.

    • Partager

      It is not just Italy where publishers BLOCK AD-BLOCKERS!
      In fact, I see it daily on about 75% of the websites I follow for news websites, technical oriented social sites, etc.

      Ad-Blockers such as AdBlock Plus are NOW Useless for most of my traffic.
      AdBlock Plus is a FARCE, a Charade, since they switched sides and JOINED the Ad Farms in SERVING or ALLOWING Ads in exchange for cash payments from Ad Publishers to ALLOW their ads through!

      BLOCKING AD-BLOCKERS is the FASTEST GROWING TREND on the Internet
      Week by week I see more and more websites simply refusing to deliver content until they have been “whitelisted” or the user disables the browser blocker.

      The current Ad Blocker technology is now defeated, including Opera’s.

      Its installation in a user’s browser is easily detected by hosts and quickly combated by refusing to serve up the content.

      I first tried setting up custom javascript filters to weed out all of the scripts running in the website content but it takes so long to finally get through to the content for just ONE website. And those filters don’t help at the next site.

      There are technologies to better block ads but it takes more than a browser plugin.

      The other problem is that, say, a “Reputable” news content provider, for instance, has the attitude that “OUR ads are ‘fair’ & lightweight”, THEY do NOT CONTROL successive networks of Ads from Disreputable Spamming Ad & Malware hosts also being piggy-backed onto the first stream of ads that Mr. Reputable Content Provider thinks they are serving at their hosts.

      Even the most Reputable content provider when browsed far from its home server will have streams of ads that are nothing but Malware and driveby Crap installers that the User must endure just to see the content finally delivered.

      Browsers typically will not serve any content until the last scrap of ads has been downloaded from hundreds of servers all over the world.

      So, I am going to go try a complicated setup (for me) of an application I have downloaded to test.

  • Roby

    I tried your ad blocker but it failed miserably in blocking some of the most annoying types of ads, that’s the reason why I stick to ABP.
    I don’t mind non intrusive, lightweight ads, but if the nasty ones which open new tabs, cover stuff up or are plain annoying get past your native ad blocker the speed advantage you tout means absolutely nothing…

  • I’d like to take this opportunity to say that I have tried using native Opera ad block in the desktop browser but it has always felt inferior to uBlock. My pages load faster with uBlock and ads never show up. With Opera ad block, however, ads show up at first and then quickly disappear which is an annoying experience. In addition, a lot of the ads are not being blocked at all by the default block list. And if I add a bunch of additional block lists Opera starts slowing down to a crawl.

    • Kai Ockendorf

      I’m using uBlock too & tried the native Opera ad block as well! I totally agree, but I would love to use the native one, if it blocks the same as uBlock! So looking forward to the upcoming improvements…who knows, maybe I’ll use the inbuild solution then only 🙂

      • Ari

        I’m on the same boat as you guys.

        Tried built-in but felt less blocker and less speedy than uBlock. I would suggest Opera team to keep working and develop your ad-blocker having in your horizon at uBlock, that’s the train to catch guys not ABP. When you get there, I will happily use your blocker.

  • tamakio

    Why you don’t have Belarus on Usage map?

  • Hetai-Na

    Can you add more option to find bar? Just like Edge or Firefox.

  • Ahmed AL-Jaber

    Opera please add feature : Block larger media in certain size like Ublock Origin have,

  • Andrés Ruiz

    People still don’t activate the ad blocker because 2 main reasons:
    1st and more important: they are not advanced users, they don’t know that are ads and that they can be blocked and that it will be a benefit in loading times, performance, etc… and that Opera has one inside of it.
    2nd, some (like me) are aware of it, and use it, but there is still some work to do, in my daily usage, there are still some websites that just stop working with adblocker activated, I have a portal where I look for jobs (elempleo.com) and with Opera ad-blocker activated, it is impossible to log in, the form containing username and password just doesn’t work with the adblocker, and thats not the first nor the second site that has a conflict with Opera’s built in ad blocker.
    Other adblockers in Firefox or even on Edge seem to work properly.
    Thanks and keep doing such a great browser
    Best regards from someone who uses Opera since it had built in ads. LOL

  • yigido

    I am using Adguard extension on Opera, so your stats show that to you “This user does not use adblocker”..I am using but 3rd party for you.
    Why I did not use Opera inbuilt adblocker? It has no local filters like Adguard.
    Adguard has Turkish adblocking filter list, I tried to use it with Opera’s built in adblocker with custom filter option. I couldn’t achieve to add Adguard’s Turkish filter. I do not want to use Fanboys Turkish list, it has too old filters.
    Please improve Opera adblocker, try to parse Adguard’s filter syntax. So I can use faster browser with inbuilt adbocking. Currently, I will stay with Adguard Adblocker extension.
    For English speaking nations have no problem with Easliyt and EasyPrivacy… but as a local user like Turkey, Russia, Germany… these countries have their own ad networks which needs to be blocked. Fanboy never eccapets to add foreign ad networks to Easylist filter. So all in all.. I am still using Adguard sorry.. :/

    • Vamsi Krishna

      I too use Adguard because it does not show how many ads are blocked when I hide the extension online where as Opera’s native ad blocker shows how many ads are there which I don’t like

  • sallysingha

    Opera needs to add some more extension and themes as it becomes too slow while loading websites with multiple pages as ,the last day I was going through “https://www.trioworldacademy.com/” and loading was too slow. Hoping Opera engineers would soon work on these points.

  • Valdyn

    Would it be possible to not only show the time it requires to load the page in the non blocking / blocking comparsion but also the amount of downloaded data?

  • Jack Backer

    Hi, Opera developers! Thanks for the built-in ad blocker. I never turn it off. It has some flaws, yes, but with it I have no need to manually search for, install and adjust some blocking crapware, and this is awesome! Also, I’m thinking of feature that I really want to see in the future Opera releases: VPN must honor a local ‘hosts’ file. Why? Well, I have a modified ‘hosts’ file that prohibits all known ad networks. This is a system-wide solution to block ads in all browsers and other applications without any third-party crappy plugins. But Opera VPN ruins this use case. I understand that honoring of local ‘hosts’ files could be error-prone or even unsecure to the SurfEasy infrastructure. But you can use one ad free ‘hosts’ file shared among all Opera users, i.e., one VPN-server-side ad filter. Lesser traffic – lesser infrastructure costs – faster browser – happy users!

  • Danial

    Native ad blocking is amazing. However, I have tested it compared to Ublock origin and Adguard, I found Opera adblock uses nearly twice the amount of RAM. I have switched to Adguard for Windows (not the extension).
    I also found, it didn’t block some ads that the other adblockers blocked.
    Great job and hopefully it improves.

  • Opera is nice selection for browsing. http://viewcolleges.com/community-colleges-near-me/

  • Мирон Ілик

    Смотрю по статистике посещения сайта http://sanatoriitruskavca.com/, большинство пользователей используют именно

  • http://www.jetpara.net
    Ekonomi ve Finans Haberleri

  • i am using opera browser since 2011. I really loved it, thnq for adding more features and also will use in future
    http://www.srscreations.com

  • Heera

    Many blocked sites open easily in opera browser like- http://torrentz2.eu/ http://moviescounter.com/ http://www.irupes.com/

  • This is exactly where the “Canarytoken” becomes useful. A canary token will allow us the be aware whenever someone touchs a specific file. Alternatively you could insert some unique values in your databases and configure whatever gateway solution you have (firewall, proxy, etc.) to block any packet that contains this value. Samsun http://bit.ly/2npB48N

  • God bless ad-blocking.

  • Opera is blazing fast. It’s fast to start, fast to load, fast to do pretty much everything. When loading https://modasto.com/ , I can open several pages in the background and the browser does not grind to a halt or freeze momentarily. Speed is my primary driver and Opera delivers.

  • ShintoPlasm

    Will you be removing these features in future, like Google intends with Chromium (https://www.ghacks.net/2017/03/20/google-removing-close-other-tabs-close-tabs-to-the-right-from-chrome/)? Hopefully not!

  • bla blaa

    how can I repair Opera after A Malware attack ? thank you

  • Mohammad Rameez

    Great post ! keep it up…

  • Yunus Farsak

    Konusbe.ORG – https://konusbe.org/