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Most internet users see scores of digital ads every time they go online—and in Spain, as elsewhere, many now choose to block ads on web pages. The Interactive Advertising Bureau Spain (IAB Spain) and the native ad platform provider Ligatus Spain recently commissioned Elogia to assess the extent of ad blocking in the country. More than 2,000 web users ages 16 to 60 were interviewed in December 2015 and January 2016.
Just over a quarter (26%) of the sample said they currently blocked ads—equivalent to 5.6 million people in that age group. Moreover, 68% of those who didn’t already block ads said they would like to avoid ads if they could.
When researchers asked why people who blocked ads did so, there were few surprises. Half said there was too much advertising, and 53% said ads were inconvenient or intrusive. Some 46% commented that ads prevented them seeing or reading content, and 41% were aiming to eliminate low-value or misleading ads. Three in ten respondents hoped to improve the speed or data consumption of their devices. Even across the total sample, 84% agreed that some digital ads, such as pop-ups and non-skippable pre-roll video ads, were more intrusive than others.
Frequent and intensive internet users—often the individuals that advertisers most want to reach—were more likely to block ads, IAB and Ligatus Spain reported. Nearly all (95%) of respondents who went online several times a day had installed an ad blocker, and 88% of mobile internet users had also done so. Some 57% of respondents who blocked ads were male, and the same percentage were ages 16 to 34. Nearly two-thirds (62%) had a university degree—but 62% also had no children.
Overall, those polled said that digital ads were most disturbing on mobile phones. But people who used an ad blocker were most likely to have installed it on their desktop or laptop first of all.
Worryingly for publishers, many web users who blocked ads didn’t discriminate between sites where they could turn the software on or off—or didn’t realize they could make this choice. Half (49%) said they simply blocked ads on all web pages. The next most popular approach was blocking ads on entertainment sites; 26% said they did this.
There was some good news for media owners. Fewer than one in five respondents said they shut down ad serving on sites such as social media, news, games or sports. Moreover, many web users were tolerant of online ads to a degree. Over half of the total sample said digital advertising was no worse than ads on TV, and 64% said some digital ads were informative.
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