Evaluating the top three ad-blocking browsers for Android
What’s the most significant difference between FAB Adblocker, Brave and Adblock Browser when it comes to ad-filtering quality?
At eyeo, experimentation and innovation are at the core of what we do. We’re constantly finding ways to improve our solutions and delight our partners and their users. One way we do this is by putting ourselves in the users’ shoes –– what is their browsing experience on mobile? What do they see when surfing the internet? Most importantly, what do they see on an ad-blocking browser?
To answer these questions and better understand the user experience, we conducted a small experiment between the top three ad-blocking browsers* for Android to compare the browsing experience on four different websites. We used the most aggressive ad-blocking mode in each browser’s settings to identify the quality of the ad-filtering engine and filter lists used. Unlike traditional ad blocking, ad filtering enables some nonintrusive ads to be shown to consenting users and is the current most-representative method of today’s users’ browsing experience.
Ultimately, our goal was to compare the quality of ad filtering on different ad-blocking browsers by looking specifically at user experience.
In the video above, we compared the ad-filtering engine’s ability in hiding ads and collapsing white spaces. The outcome of the experiment shows that Adblock Browser, powered by eyeo Chromium SDK, blocks everything covered by the publicly available filter list, EasyLis–t. It also accurately filters out annoying ads and elegantly renders a web page, providing an optimal user experience. Meanwhile, the other ad blockers continued to display some ads or white spaces on the websites tested.
Like every experiment, we’re aware that there are concerns to address, such as objectivity.
Benchmarking ad-filtering performance on different browsers by measuring page load time and memory consumption can be seen as a subjective method, especially since there are different user interfaces and feature sets. However, comparing the quality of ad filtering in terms of preciseness, i.e., what you see is what you get, can be done objectively.
Another concern is that eyeo’s ad-filtering technology uses different filter lists. While we don’t just use the publicly available Easylist (as we have a dedicated team that curates and maintains our own ‘AdBlock Plus Filters’ list to assist with advanced ad-blocking cases), in this particular case, we did remove our proprietary filter list and only used the publicly available Easylist.
Furthermore, we are aware that the websites in this comparison are not on most top 10 lists. eyeo Ad-Filtering Solutions gives our users a personalized ad-filtering experience that covers frequently visited websites and the sites that users care about. For that reason, we decided to exclude websites on the top 10 lists from our test to honor the individual’s unique internet experience. Another reason is that most ad-blocking browsers that focus specifically on the top 10 websites perform ad blocking as well as we do.
Lastly, part of our innovation goals is to aim bigger and shoot for the moon. We know that this use case does not accurately represent the whole internet, but only four websites. To continue on the path of innovation and scaling, we are now experimenting with Project Moonshot, using machine learning and artificial intelligence to automate online ad filtering. Learn more about Project Moonshot as we take a leap to boost our technology and give our partners and their users a high-quality solution.
*based on the German Google Playstore search result ranking for "ad blocking browser.”