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Consumers aware of ad blocking

News, 19 April 2016

NEW YORK: In a further sign of how ad blocking technology is posing a threat to the digital advertising industry, a new global survey has found close to two-thirds (61%) of consumers are aware of several options for removing advertising.

Accenture, the professional services firm, polled 28,000 consumers across 28 countries and also revealed that four-in-ten (42%) say they would pay to eliminate ad interruptions.

Younger consumers are especially aware of ad blockers compared with older age groups, the survey found, while consumers in emerging markets have greater awareness than their counterparts in developed countries.

For example, more than two-thirds (69%) of respondents aged 18 to 24 – and a similar proportion (66%) aged 25 to 34 – say they know about ad interruption technologies.

Meanwhile, about two-thirds (65%) of consumers in emerging market countries say they know about ad blockers compared with 58% of consumers in mature markets.

Awareness about ad blocking is at a high level in Latin America (78%), especially Mexico (82%), and the Middle East (69%), but only just over half (55%) of consumers in the UK say they know about ad blocking methods.

Gavin Mann, Accenture's global broadcast industry lead, warned advertisers that consumers are turning to ad blocking technology because they feel they are being served too many irrelevant and depersonalised ads – an issue borne out in numerous surveys and reinforced by Accenture's latest findings.

"Consumers are increasingly willing to pay for blockers because too many ads are poorly targeted," he said.

"In today's world of personalised content, being forced to watch an ad that has no relevance is a missed opportunity and feels increasingly intrusive on precious screen-time.

"In fact, simple avoidance of content associated with heavy and repetitive irrelevant advertising will increase as consumer choice and awareness of choice increases."

In order to overcome the problem, the report went on to recommend that advertisers invest in user experience and user interface transformation, production studios, and post-production support resources and facilities.

"The industry needs to do everything possible to make ads less of an infringement on precious screen time, by building on early successes that deliver targeted, relevant and entertaining ads – in a creative style appreciated by the individual," Mann said.

Data sourced from Accenture; additional content by Warc staff