Posted on March 23, 2021

Motivations for ad blocking across gender lines

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Popular psychology tells us that men are from Mars and women are from Venus. But when it comes to the reasons they block ads, both XX and XY chromosome-havers are solidly together on planet Earth.

In teasing out the reasons that ad filterers—the name given to the 95% of ad blocking users who have an ad blocker installed on their device but still consent to be served ads—decided to curate the ads they’re served in the first place, we wanted to look at a variety of factors. Did a person’s age impact their reasons for ad blocking? Did their education level?

And…did gender?

As it turns out, there’s not a clear pink/blue divide when it comes to the motivations for ad blocking. Men and women seem to be largely in agreement when it comes to the reasons they have for ad blocking…although there are slight differences that we found interesting to tease out.

Speed and intrusiveness: largely male concerns

When we looked at the top five reasons for ad blocking, male respondents were more likely than female respondents to choose the answers “Ads are too intrusive” and “To speed up loading times” when asked “Why do you use an ad blocker?” 48.1% expressed concerns about intrusiveness compared to 44% of women, and 45.8% were worried about ads’ adverse effects on loading times compared to just 40.4% of women.

Unity of opinion?

What is perceived as a browsing experience cluttered with so many ads resulted in a moment of peace and understanding in the battle of the sexes. “There are too many ads on the internet” was the answer given by roughly half of both men and women.

Men and women agreed in almost equal percentages—52.2% of men and 53% of women—that a main point of concern was the sheer quantity of ads online.

Women are aggravated by irrelevant ads and virus threats

When asked “Why do you use an ad blocker,” female ad filterers were most concerned about two things: “Too many ads are annoying or irrelevant” and “Ads sometimes contain viruses or bugs.” 49.4% of women were concerned about the safety issues of ads and viruses/bugs, compared to only 45.4% of men.

But it’s worth noting that the most important issue for both men and women was annoyance/irrelevance. 61.1% of women cited this as the most pressing concern. And, while a slightly smaller percentage of men were troubled by annoyance and irrelevance, it was, at 58.8%, still the most popular response given.


If you’re interested in learning more about ad filterer motivations and psychology, make sure to check out our forthcoming study, Why Block Ads? Behind User Reasons and Motivations, a study that examines, well, the reasons and motivations behind ad blocking habits.

Why Block Ads? Behind User Reasons and Motivations will be published in April, but we’ll be teasing its release with posts just like this one. And if you’re interested, check out some of our previous ground-breaking studies.

Last November we released Ad Filterers Online: Purchasing Habits and Media Consumption In The USA, which shed light on the subject of how ad filterers spend time online…and how they spend their hard-earned dollars.

And back in January of 2020 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.