Posted on October 30, 2020

What major purchases do ad filterers make online?

Featured photo

A study conducted by Forbes Insights, in association with Synchrony Financial, "A Split Screen: Online Information and a Human Touch," suggests that people aren’t always comfortable making big-ticket purchases online.

As Bruce Rogers, Chief Insights Officer and head of the CMO Practice at Forbes Media, states:

“Customers do their homework for major purchases, and that’s easiest online. But when it comes to the actual purchase, they like to do it in person.”

But whether the reasoning behind the reticence to make big purchases online comes from worries over shipping, concern about product satisfaction, or second thoughts about data protection, it seems like one group is exempt from online purchase-related hesitation: ad filterers.

According to recent datas gleaned from the GlobalWebIndex (GWI), ad filterers are happy to make significant purchases online, and they do it at a rate that greatly outstrips that of their non- ad blocking user peers.

We looked specifically at five common major purchases made in US households: computer games, headphones, gaming consoles, experiences like day spa outings, and desktop PCs. And ad filterers were more than twice as likely to purchase all of these online as non- ad blocking users.

In fact, when looking at computer games, headphones, gaming consoles and desktop computers, ad filterers are proven to be between two and a half and three times more likely. In the category of gaming consoles—a device that ad blocking users have a particular and historic affinity for—the numbers are similar.

But what’s the reason for this discrepancy? Why do ad filterers out-spend non- ad blocking users when making large purchases?

Part of it might have to do with their comparative wealth. Ever since ad blocking users began being examined as a demographic, their high levels of disposable income have been a subject of interest. This certainly makes it easier to make large purchases. As Toni White, CMO of Synchrony Financial states, “A major purchase is a commitment for many consumers.”

But there might be more to it. A familiarity and sense of confidence surrounding the product is also key to making a purchase, and that confidence and familiarity can be boosted by research conducted with an amount of digital fluency.

Since ad filterers are online at higher rates than their non- ad blocking counterparts, their fluency and comfort levels when conducting the important step of product research are bound to be higher… making them more likely to take the plunge.


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 ad filterers, who 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.”

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.