Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

Broadening horizons: ad filterers’ appetite for discovery

Partner Content

By Otilia Otlacan, Head of Operations, AAX

It’s a surprising fact for many: ad filterers—defined by the GlobalWebIndex as “users who have blocked ads in the past month but discover brands or products through ads seen online and have clicked on an online ad in the past month”—are three times more likely than users without an ad blocker installed on their devices to discover brands from advertisements on websites.

This fact especially comes as a shock to those unfamiliar with the demographic of ad filterers. This is because there’s an unfounded belief that ad filterers are less likely to be interested in brand discovery than their non- ad blocking counterparts.

So what happened? How did ad filterers get stuck with a false reputation as uninterested consumers…and what’s behind their hunger for newness and discovery?

From all-or-nothing to embracing balance

To really understand this, we have to go back to the large, seismic shift in the way that people block ads. What used to be an all-or-nothing proposition—either block every single ad or allow everything in, even the obnoxious glittery pop-ups—have been modulated.

This ‘scorched earth’ approach to blocking ads was, in large part, a recoil from the fact that obnoxious, glittery pop-ups proliferated in the first decades of the 21st century. But it soon became apparent that this style of ad blocking was just as damaging to the free web as those incessant pop-ups were.

It became apparent that a compromise needed to be made. The participants needed to meet in the middle, in a place where advertisements existed but users felt respected.

Finding a middle ground

Fortunately, insights showed that users of ad blockers didn’t hate all ads. They just didn’t like intrusive, insistent ads. When given a choice to be served tasteful ads, many of these users readily consented to this option, which ensured that their browsing experience stayed pleasant.

And, unsurprisingly, this pleasant browsing experience was a better environment to nurture the curiosity and open-mindedness that brings about brand discovery.

The vast majority of users of ad blockers—90%—are engaged in what we know as ad filtering. These users are served non-obnoxious, non-intrusive ads…and engage in more brand discovery than ever before.

Our new study, enriched with findings from the trove of data the GlobalWebIndex keeps on internet behavior, takes an in-depth look at the behavior of ad filterers.

Curious? Request your free copy of “Ad Filterers Online: Purchasing Habits and Media Consumption In The USA” today!


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