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15% of UK consumers block ads

News, 01 July 2015

LONDON: As ad blocking becomes a growing issue for both publishers and online advertisers, a new survey has found that 15% of UK internet users, especially young men, have installed ad blocking software.

However, many of those who have signed up to the technology remain open to receiving ads, although that depends on their source and relevancy.

Only half (52%) want to block all ads, according to more than 2,000 UK adults questioned by YouGov for the Internet Advertising Bureau UK, while 12% just want to block certain content and 11% seek to avoid ads from certain websites.

Ads are most likely to be blocked if they interfere with a user's experience and nearly three-quarters (73%) say they're motivated to block ads if they are interruptive.

Interstitial and transitional ads are not directly referenced, but the survey results make clear that online consumers do not want to be interrupted.

More than half (55%) are also motivated to block ads if they are "annoying", such as pop-ups, while 54% do so because they think ads slow down web browsing. Irrelevant ads put off another half (46%).

Men (22%) are much more likely than women (9%) to block ads and youth is also a factor with over a third (34%) of respondents aged 18 to 24 being willing to block ads compared with about a fifth (19%) of 25-34 year-olds.

The survey also explored attitudes about the interdependency between advertising and the provision of free content.

Surprisingly, only 44% of respondents are aware that most websites are free because they are supported by advertising, yet only 10% are less likely to block ads after being told.

Two-thirds (66%) would prefer to access free content with no ads, only a fifth (21%) prefers free content in return for receiving ads, while just 3% would pay for ad-free content.

This finding prompted Guy Phillipson, CEO of the IAB UK, to observe that many consumers "want to have their cake and eat it".

"The bottom line is that if the web didn't have ads, most sites could only exist by charging subscriptions," he said.

Data sourced from IAB UK; additional content by Warc staff