Posted on March 2, 2021

Thinking outside the browsing experience: privacy concerns, battery life, and data allowance.

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Our new study, Why Block Ads? Behind User Reasons and Motivations will be published in April, but we’ll be teasing its release with a number of posts (like this one!).

We’ve talked a bit about the primary reasons that the American public blocks ads—it’s all about frustration.

We also covered the secondary reasons for ad blocking—i.e. complaints about ads getting between users and their ideal browsing experience.

And we’ve touched on tertiary reasons, which hit upon the pain points of both browsing experience (avoiding ads before watching video clips) and set principles (trying to avoid personalized ads, as well as all ads whenever possible).

It’s time to turn our attention to the final reasons that ad filterers (otherwise known as the 95% of people who have ad blockers installed on their devices but consent to be served non-intrusive, respectful ads) turned to ad blocking in the first place. And don’t be fooled—although these were overall the least popular reasons for ad blocking, they were still selected as reasons by significant and large percentages of the ad filtering population.

When asked, “Why do you use an ad blocker?”…

– 29.6% of respondents answered “Ads might compromise my online privacy.”

– 25.4% of respondents answered “To stop my device’s battery from being drained.”

– and 19.1% of respondents answered “I want to stop my data allowance from being used up.”

What unites all of these issues is that they stray from the browsing experience. The concerns here are about the perception of what ads can possibly do, both in terms of affecting the actual hardware (draining the battery) or the cost of maintaining the device (the data allowance).

And then, of course, comes the subject of privacy.

Back in March 2020, we wrote a piece called “What are some challenges facing the international ad market,” which took an in-depth look into the hot-button topics being discussed at the Adzine Adtrader Conference in Berlin.

Central among these topics was privacy, which Dennis Buchheim, Executive Vice President and General Manager of IAB Tech Lab, described in his keynote lecture as having “a pervasive impact on what we do.” In fact, privacy concerns were singled out as being the single most important issue facing the ad space, and an important issue especially when it comes to user security and trust.

So it’s no wonder that almost a third of respondents agreed that privacy was a reason that ad filterers chose to install an ad blocker on their device.

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Interested in learning more about ad filterers? 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.