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Technology / Hardware

Time for a new marketing strategy? 42 percent of consumers would pay for ad-blockers

Many consumers are hostile to digital advertising and would use ad-blockers to remove them, suggesting a considerable threat to the future of the industry.

42 percent of consumers globally said that they would pay to eliminate interruptions from advertising.

As a whole, 61 percent were aware of several options for removing advertising such as ad-blockers.

Young consumers were especially aware of ad-blockers, with 69 percent of those aged 18 to 24 aware and 66 percent of those between 25 and 34.

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There were also geographical variations in the findings, with 65 percent of respondents in emerging market countries knowing about ad-blockers compared to 58 percent in mature market countries.

Consumers in emerging markets are more likely to use ad blockers than those in mature markets: 47 percent versus 34 percent.

55 percent of consumers in the UK know about ad-blockers, considerably below the average.

Ad-blockers are often available for free, and can be installed on desktop or mobile browsers to automatically block advertising on websites.

There are a number of reasons why consumers choose to use them. Users can load video files more quickly, view cleaner-looking Web pages and increase their privacy.

The long-standing link between adverts and malware is another reason; publishers do not always have control over the quality of advertising deployed on their sites due to the platforms that are used. This means that ‘malvertising’ can be endemic.

In addition, adverts can use up as much bandwidth as other media, eating into a user’s data allowance.

Susie Kim Riley, CEO of Aquto, which helps mobile operators monetise adverting, argues that the solution to the bandwidth problem is for advertisers to reach an arrangement with operators to zero-rate their adverts so that it does not use up data.

"It’s a win-win, because users aren’t just clicking past your ad, they’re actually watching it," she told CBR in a recent interview.

"Advertisers must learn that the answer to dealing with the ad-blocking issue lies in striking a balance between these two rights – providing ad-supported content that gives businesses a way to monetise the content they make, whilst prioritising the customer experience," adds Brightcove CEO, David Mendels.

Apart from the advertisers themselves, one sector which could face particular danger from ad-blockers is online media. With the decline of print media, where users do not have to pay a subscription, the publishers are increasingly funded by advertising to a large extent.

The Guardian Media Group recently said that it would consider preventing readers from accessing content if the take-up of ad-blocking software became more widespread.

Dan Slivjanovski, Head of Marketing at RhythmOne, said that "the changing landscape forces advertisers to focus on making content the best it’s ever been in order to stand out and be seen, not blocked."

The survey polled 28000 consumers across 28 countries, including the UK and US.
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