Consumer Attitudes on Marketing 2019

Privacy Concerns Mount, and Ad Blocking Isn’t Going Away

About This Report
Consumers are uncomfortable with their advertising experiences, due to a combination of intrusive formats and privacy-invading practices. As a result, about one-quarter of US consumers block digital ads.

Executive Summary

Consumers are frustrated about their digital media experiences. A substantial chunk of them have responded by blocking ads on their devices. They’re rejecting a poor user experience when they do so. And many are becoming more vocal about their objections to how their personal information is used to create that experience.

How many people block ads in the US and Western Europe?

We estimate that one in four US internet users have installed some type of ad blocking software on at least one of their devices—mostly on desktops and laptops. Ad blocking is somewhat more common in France and Germany and less so in the UK, with growth in the ad blocking population slow to flat across the four markets. But that doesn’t mean ad blocking is going away.

Why do internet users want to avoid seeing ads?

Internet users block ads because of heavy ad loads (slowing down page load times) and intrusive formats like autoplay video with sound. But privacy concerns are also driving behaviors, including but not limited to ad blocking. Some internet users delete cookies or use browsers like Safari and Firefox that inhibit persistent tracking to protect their information.

What makes consumers more tolerant of advertising?

Research about consumer digital ad preferences has a few themes. Consumers tend to be relatively open to advertising on social media during lean-back experiences like watching TV and at other times when they’re relaxing, like when they’re using their phones right before bedtime. Some research suggests consumers are also more tolerant of relevant ads—but surveys that ask people if they’re willing to give up their personal information in exchange for such experiences make relying on relevance a tricky proposition for marketers.

WHAT’S IN THIS REPORT? This report includes our latest estimates of ad blocking in France, Germany, the UK and US, as well as an update on consumer views on advertising and associated personal data use.

KEY STAT: About three-quarters of US internet users are concerned about how tech companies are using their data for commercial purposes, and only about one in 10 are OK with that data being used for relevant ads, according to an April 2019 survey by the Internet Innovation Alliance (IIA) and CivicScience.

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Table of Contents

  1. Executive Summary
  2. Ad Blocking in 2019
  3. User Experience
  4. Personal Data and Privacy
  1. How Publishers Are Responding
  2. Key Takeaways
  3. eMarketer Interviews
  4. Read Next
  1. Sources
  2. Media Gallery

Charts in This Report

Interviewed for This Report

Zack Dugow
Founder, CEO
Interviewed June 14, 2019
Dan Jaye
Co-Founder, CEO
Interviewed April 16, 2019
Brian Kane
Co-Founder, COO
Interviewed June 6, 2019
Ray Kingman
Interviewed May 24, 2019
Jason Kint
Digital Content Next
Interviewed June 11, 2019
Todd Loofbourrow
CEO, Chairman
Interviewed April 16, 2019
Claudia Page
Senior Vice President, Product and Partner Development
Interviewed June 6, 2019
Richard Reeves
Association of Online Publishers
Managing Director
Interviewed June 6, 2019
Brooke Willcox
MNI Targeted Media
Director of Digital Business Development and Emerging Media
Interviewed April 15, 2019
Edwin Wong
Vox Media
Vice President, Insights and Innovations
Interviewed August 6, 2019
Ziggy Zografakis
Director of Marketplace
Interviewed April 23, 2019
Sergii Denysenko
MGID Global
Interviewed June 7, 2019

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Nicole Perrin


Bill Fisher
Senior Analyst
Lauren Fisher
Principal Analyst
Shelleen Shum
Director, Forecasting
Peter Vahle
Forecasting Analyst
Karin von Abrams
Principal Analyst

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