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Why More than a Quarter of US Internet Users Block Ads

Most are annoyed by ads that block content

August 11, 2016 | Advertising & Marketing

Advertisers (and publishers) are placing more and more ads on the web. But with this buildup comes the consequence of burdening consumers. According to July 2016 research, more than one-quarter of US internet users claim they have used an ad blocker on their desktop or laptop.

US Internet Users Who Use Ad Blockers, June 2016 (% of respondents)

In June 2016, Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) surveyed 1,292 US internet users ages 18 and older about their experience with ad blockers.

According to the data, the majority (37%) of respondents said they do not use an ad blocker and don’t plan to in the next six months. But, in contrast, another 26% said they do have an ad blocker on their desktop or laptop. And perhaps more interesting, 17% said while they did not have an ad blocker when polled, they plan to in the next few months.

According to eMarketer estimates, ad blocker adoption is on a significant uptick. Users of ad blockers in the US will grow by double digits this year (34.4%) and next (24.0%).

Types of Ads that US Internet Users Find Annoying, June 2016 (index*)

One reason for this rise could be because of publishers cramming in too many ads and too much code, among other issues, as suggested by eMarketer experts in a July 2016 episode of our podcast, “Behind the Numbers.”

The IAB research also uncovered what types of ads bother users of ad blockers most. Of those polled, most felt most burdened by ads that block content, and ones that follow them on the page while they scroll. In addition, video ads in particular were also called out as bothersome. These included lengthy ones that precede a short piece of video content, and those without a skip button.

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