Study: Many adopt ad blockers to avoid ads, not bad user experiences
- AdBlock Plus and Global Web Index released a report on U.S. ad block adoption and found that around 40% of all respondents had used ad block tech in the last month, as reported by Marketing Land. Broken down by internet devices, laptops led the way at 40% followed by desktops at 33%; mobile adoption lagged at 15%, and tablets were considered a separate category and only had 8% adoption.
- Awareness of ad block software was 48% for all demographics but, similar to previous studies, awareness of the technology was much higher for younger demographics, seeing recognition from 62% of 16- to 24-year-olds and 51% of 25- to 34-year-olds. Among actual users of ad blocking technology, the 25-34 group was most active at 26% followed by 35-44 at 21%. Usage also skewed heavily male at 58%.
- One result from the report that runs counter to many industry views is that people are adopting ad block tech specifically to avoid ads altogether rather than to combat bad users experiences such as slower page speed or higher data usage.
Nothing about the report should be encouraging for a digital ad industry that has been struggling to tamp down on ad block software adoption for some time, especially the news of growing awareness with younger demographic groups. However, what might be most troubling is the finding that people are adopting ad blockers simply because they don't want to see ads at all.
The current industry line is that improving the overall quality of digital advertising and dropping particularly intrusive formats will stymie ad blocking growth, but that might not actually be the case. AdBlock Plus and Global Web Index found that, among surveyed smartphone owners — one of the lower categories for adoption — 47% agreed that they would "prefer to block all ads completely on my mobile device," per Marketing Land.
Still, a number of major industry groups including the Interactive Advertising Bureau and the Coalition for Better Ads are working to improve the digital overall ecosystem, which remains a worthy cause in convincing users to engage with advertisements. Google, which is a member of the Coalition for Better Ads, is also planning to introduce a proprietary ad blocking software for its Chrome browser that intends to weed out undesirable formats.