London-based market researchers GlobalWebIndex have published the results of new research into how and why consumers are using ad blockers, based on interviews with 109,780 Internet users aged 16-64 in 42 countries.
Some key points:
- 4 in 10 Internet users across income levels are blocking ads.
- More people block ads on desktops, but mobile is catching up because ads waste scarce screen space and costly data allowance on mobile devices.
- 60% of Internet users routinely use ad blockers every day.
- "Ad fatigue" drives users to block ads.
- Marketers should explore non-ad avenues like branded content and influencers.
- Men (48%) - especially ages 16-34 - use ad blockers more than women (38%).
- Ad blocking is most common in Asia-Pacific (47%), North America (43%), Latin America (42%).
Why consumers block ads (top 5 reasons):
- Too many ads on the Internet. (48%)
- Too many ads are annoying or irrelevant. (47%)
- Ads are too intrusive. (44%)
- Ads sometimes contain viruses or bugs. (39%)
- Ads take up too much screen space. (37%)
Reasons to block ads - specific to age groups:
- 16-24 Avoid having to see ads before watching videos
- 25-34 Conserve data allowance
- 35-44 Save battery life
- 45-64 Stop ads being personalized from browsing history
Top ad blocking motivations by country (selected):
- Too many ads: France, Mexico, Portugal
- Annoying/irrelevant: Canada, Germany, Ireland, UK, USA
- Intrusive: China, Italy
Blocking on desktop vs mobile:
- North America 38% vs. 23%
- Europe 36% vs. 22%
- Asia-Pacific: 38% both
- Latin America 36% vs. 26%
- Middle East & Africa: 37% vs. 34%
Single-device vs. multi-device ad blocker use, by region:
- Single-device: 22% (Asia-Pacific) to 44% (Middle East & Africa)
- Multi-device: 56% (Middle East & Africa) to 78% (Asia-Pacific)
Google is contributing to ad blocking by:
- In Chrome, blocking full-screen ads, ads that autoplay audio or video, ads with deceptive CLOSE buttons
- Penalizing in search ranking sites that load slowly on mobile devices
Medium through which consumers most often discover brands:
- 16-24 Online 35%
- 25-34 TV 35%
- 35-44 TV 37%
- 45-54 TV 41%
- 55-64 TV 45%
Share of consumers who discover brands through endorsements by celebrities or well-known individuals:
- 16-24 19%
- 25-34 18%
- 35-44 15%
- 45-54 10%
- 55-64 6%
How consumers say they have engaged with a brand in the past month (top 5):
- Visited website 58%
- Watched a video made by the brand 26%
- Read an e-mail or newsletter from a brand 24%
- Visited brand's social-network page 23%
- Linked or followed brand on social network 23%
Recommendations from GlobalWebIndex:
- Assume ad blockers aren't going away.
- Ads need to load faster.
- Ads must be relevant and well placed in context.
- Invest in content or influencers to become a source of entertainment or education.
Some very actionable points that marketers need to heed:
- Make all ads relevant to what the user is doing, and to the context in which your ads appear.
- Make mobile ads small and fast.
- Publish branded content that entertains or educates.
- Work with relevant influencers.
- Don't waste money on ad personalization or celebrity endorsements if targeting middle-aged or older consumers.
- If getting good results and ROI from TV, don't abandon it yet.