UK consumers support online ads

14 May 2012

LONDON: Consumers in the UK are mostly supportive of online advertising, with a majority recognising its importance to supporting free websites and content.

The IAB, the trade body, ValueClick, the advertising company, and Kantar Media, the research firm, polled 2,000 people, 61% of which agreed a lot of digital material would "disappear" without ads.

A further 52% were "happy" to see commercial messages on the net because they funded services and content which could therefore be enjoyed at little or no cost.

Only one out of every ten respondents displayed a willingness to pay for access to the same services and material if this meant they were not exposed to advertising.

Elsewhere, 59% of adults would rather see fewer ads with increased relevancy than a greater amount of less targeted alternatives, and 55% expressed a preference for more personalised communications from brands.

More broadly, 45% of interviewees aspired to control the type of internet advertising they saw, while 40% wanted to access any data being shared about them, and 36% desired information about the organisation showing them an ad.

Privacy is an issue of wider importance, cited as a matter of concern by 62% of consumers. An even more substantial 67% of contributors were confident they knew how to protect their online data.

As an example, half of the individuals surveyed had deleted cookies from their computer at some point in the last six months, and one in five did so each week.

Despite this, some confusion existed over the purpose of cookies; while 64% of the panel claimed to know what these were, just 57% actually identified the correct definition.

Overall, however, a relatively modest 19% of the sample failed to take any steps in an effort to manage their internet privacy.

Another 61% of participants stated that the net helped them live more cheaply, 46% thought web access should be a human right, and 42% would feel like a "second class citizen" if they could not log on.

Data sourced from IAB; additional content by Warc staff