Ad blocking has been around for a long time, but digital advertisers and publishers are seeing it as an increasing problem. Research suggests that a solid majority of internet users ages 18 to 34 are now blocking ads when they view digital content.
That’s what Moz and Fractl found in a July 2015 survey.
Q2 2015 data from GlobalWebIndex put the share much lower on a worldwide basis. It found that 34% of those ages 16 to 24 and 31% of 25- to 35-year-old internet users blocked ads. Ad blocking was significantly more common among these ages groups than among older users.
In February 2015, the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism at the University of Oxford found that 41% of US internet users used ad-blocking software on their desktop or laptop PCs, vs. 34% of internet users in the UK.
Data remains scarce, but the research suggests substantial numbers of internet users in the US are blocking ads—and millennials are even more likely to do so.
Concerned advertisers would do well to note that millennials did not universally reject ads as irrelevant. A few digital ad types saw a majority of millennial internet users in the Fractl/Moz poll rating them at least somewhat relevant, including retargeted ads and social media ads. Millennials were also fairly warm to paid search ads, while mobile ads fared especially poorly.
But respondents also said ads were just not the best way to reach them. Free content was the most effective way they recommended for companies looking to attract their business, followed by discounts or free trial offers by mail, and appearing high in search results.