Posted on October 6, 2020

How much time do ad filterers spend online?

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In January of this year we published our groundbreaking study, “10 Things You Didn’t Know About Ad Blocking Users,” which drew back the curtain on the youthful, affluent, and well-educated users that have ad blockers installed on their devices.

But it turns out that there was even more to discover about this dynamic demographic.

We’ve once more consulted the trove of data that GlobalWebIndex (GWI) keeps about internet behavior and teased out more insights on the people GWI defines 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.”

We call these users ad filterers.

The result? AAX’s second study: Ad Filterers Online: Purchasing Habits and Media Consumption In The USA.

We’ll be publishing the study in full in November, but we wanted to give our followers a preview of the insights to come. That’s why, for the next five weeks, we’re highlighting our findings in a series of posts that consider some of our findings in a new light.

The first point we wanted to examine in our study lays the foundation for understanding ad filterers’ purchasing habits and media consumption: we wanted to see just how many hours per day American ad filterers spend online.

And what we found was that this famously online segment of the population was…extremely online.

When examining the population as a whole, we found that the largest segment of ad filterers (18.4%) spent 6-10 hours on a PC, tablet, or laptop but that significant percentages were also online for slightly less time, with 16.4% logging approximately 4-6 hours per day and 13.7% spending 3-4 hours online.

And these findings are especially striking when compared to non- ad blocking users. The largest percentage of people who don’t have an ad blocker installed spent only 1-2 hours online per day.

These numbers align with what we already knew about ad filterers, who are, overall, younger, more educated, and more affluent than their non- ad blocking user counterparts. After all, it’s widely documented that, as an Atlantic Monthly article titled “Rich, Young, Educated People Spend the Most Time Online,” phrases it, “all over the world, the people who spend the most time online tend to be young, educated, and wealthy.”

But it might also signal another defining feature of ad filterers: high rates of productivity. As delineated in the Wall Street Journal, studies have shown that higher rates of time spent online correspond with higher rates of productivity; that “browsing the internet at work […] may actually improve your performance.”

This is because time spent online can be refreshing, invigorating tired workers and increasing overall productivity. And this isn’t just in comparison to working straight through without taking a pause to read a favorite news site—it turns out that checking the internet is actually more relaxing (and therefore ultimately productivity-boosting!) than other leisure time activities like making personal phone calls or sending texts or emails.

Maybe this holds the key to the ad filtering demographic’s success in work and in the field of higher education: could it be that it’s easier to get an advanced degree or make strides in the workplace when you’re refreshed by frequent internet-browsing breaks?