Posted on October 13, 2020

What’s behind ad filterers tremendous online engagement?

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We know that ad filterers—defined 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 hungry for knowledge and spend a ton of time online.

But we didn’t realize the extent of it.

Especially when compared to the segment of the population that doesn’t use an ad blocker at all, ad filterers are voracious readers of websites. In any given month, ad filterers in the United States are 100% more likely to visit business news websites, 35% more likely to visit travel websites, and 29% more likely to visit a news website than non-ad blocking users.

Of course, there are many implications to this website-loving behavior. The fact that ad filterers devour business and non-business news alike points to a dedication to keeping up-to-date and abreast of current events. And the fact that they visit travel websites hints at another characterizing trait of ad filterers: they tend to be affluent, with the means to travel off to that dream beach getaway or wilderness adventure.

However, when you start to look deeper into these insights, an even more compelling portrait of ad filterers starts to emerge.

What are some personality traits that define the individuals that dream of far-away places, new experiences, and remote destinations—the kind of person, in other words, who spends a lot of time on travel websites?

It’s what Condé Nast Traveler calls the “science of wanderlust,” and recent science suggests that people who have a desire to explore new destinations are also motivated by a strong sense of curiosity, thrill-seeking, and restlessness. That means that the urge to fill your passport with new stamps is connected to the urge to go on roller coasters, go big in Vegas, plan a spontaneous trip to a museum, or dye your hair a bright pink on a whim.

But what about the personality traits associated with the typical news junkie: the kind of person who can’t start their day before reading through five different newspapers, whose Twitter feed is littered with Reuters and AP tweets, and who always wins the “Current Events” section at Trivia Night?

One of the standout traits associated with reading the news every day is, perhaps unsurprisingly, success. When Business Insider looked at the habits of the wildly successful—from Warren Buffet to Bill Gates—everyone reporting that reading the news built the foundation of their days.

So the fact that ad filterers love reading news and travel websites doesn’t just point to a love of political facts and pictures of palm trees. It also hints at curiosity, a tendency to take risks, and overall success.


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.