Demanding a Better Ad Experience

Demanding a Better Ad Experience

Why One in Four Internet Users Say No to Ads

Executive Summary

Many consumers are frustrated with the advertising component of their media consumption experience—including on digital channels. A significant share in the US are saying no to ads, citing intrusive placements, annoying formats and simply too many messages.

Is ad blocking still a problem?

One in four US internet users say they block ads, which is equivalent to more than 70 million people. The growth in ad blocking has slowed significantly, but it is still rising, and the same frustrating ad experiences that have driven consumers to block ads continue to be a problem.

How is the digital media ecosystem fighting ad avoidance?

Publishers, advertisers, agencies and other partners believe that relevance is the best weapon in a digital marketer’s arsenal. Consumers are more receptive to ads for products and services that they might actually want, and will be less annoyed if the messaging makes sense for them and is timely. That’s the theory, at least.

Will relevant advertising satisfy digital media consumers?

The one problem with relevance is that it can creep consumers out; 2018 has been a year of consumer backlash, as users are concerned with how their data is being used to target them. While consumers are more receptive to relevant ads, they still don’t like being tracked.

What else can advertisers, publishers and their partners do about consumer annoyance at advertising?

Advertisers can take various steps, like ensuring better frequency capping and messaging based on customer lifecycle. The industry may also be moving toward lighter ad loads, at least in some channels.

WHAT’S IN THIS REPORT? This report includes our estimates of US ad blocking users as well as insights on how brands are working to get consumers’ attention without being bothersome.

KEY STAT: One in four US internet users blocks ads this year on a regular basis, and that share will continue to rise as consumers express frustration with their digital advertising experiences.

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Nicole Perrin


Caroline Cakebread
Junior Analyst
Bill Fisher
Senior Analyst
Lauren Fisher
Principal Analyst
Natalie McGranahan
Karin von Abrams
Principal Analyst