15 per cent of Brits are Blocking Ads

Ad block PlusAlmost one in seven British adults are making use of ad blocking software, with 22 per cent admitting to having downloaded ad blockers at some point, new research by the Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB) has found.

Men are more than twice as likely as women to block ads, at 22 per cent and 9 per cent respectively, and its most common among those aged 18-24 (34 per cent) and 25-34 (19 per cent), and those in the North and Scotland (both with 19 per cent).

Of those blocking ads, 73 per cent do so because they find ads interrupt their browsing experience, while 55 per cent say ads can be annoying. 54 per cent claim that ads slow down web browsing, while 46 per cent complained that ads were often irrelevant. However, better targeting may not be the answer, as 31 per cent said they had privacy concerns about ad targeting.

All is not lost for the advertising agency however. Only 52 per cent of ad blocker users said their aim was to block all ads; 12 per cent only want to block certain types of ads, while 11 per cent only want to block ads on certain websites.

Among those using ad blockers, 80 per cent are doing so on laptops and 46 per cent on desktops. Only 19 per cent have ad blockers installed on smartphones or tablets.

Less than half of British adults are aware that most websites are free because they are funded by advertising. Men are more likely to be aware of this than women (52 per cent versus 36 per cent), and awareness decreases with age, from 59 per cent among 18-24 year olds, to 36 per cent with people over 55.

When made aware that ads fund free content, only 10 per cent said they were less likely to block ads. 66 per cent of all respondents would prefer access to free content without ads, while only 21 per cent prefer free content in return for advertising. Just three per cent would rather pay for content than have advertising.

“When it comes to a free and an ad-free internet, a lot of consumers want to have their cake and eat it,” said Guy Phillipson, CEO of the IAB. “However, those unaware that most online services are free – or cost very little – because sites make money from showing visitors ads, could be in for a shock if websites start charging for access because ad blocking reduces their revenue from advertising.

“The bottom line is that if the web didnt have ads, most sites could only exist by charging subscriptions.”