Posted on November 3, 2020

Why ad filterers make small purchases online.

Featured photo

As we wind down our series recapping AAX’s forthcoming study Ad Filterers Online: Purchasing Habits and Media Consumption In The USA, which takes a deep dive into everything from ad filterers’ engaged brand interaction to their love of gaming consoles, we realized it was time to look at the nitty gritty: the small, everyday purchases that make up the bulk of so many of our online purchasing budgets.

These are the so-called “minor purchases,” a broad category that encompasses everything from small-scale media (music, films, magazines, newspapers) to hygiene articles (cleaning products, shaving products, personal grooming products, deodorizer) to gift cards.

And if you’ve been following our series so far, you can probably deduce our findings, which are very much in line with the trends and patterns that have emerged regarding the affluent, educated, youthful demographic of ad filterers.

That’s right: ad filterers outspend non- ad blocking users when it comes to small purchases in the realm of media and household helpers alike. In fact, ad filterers spend, on average, twice to three times the amount that non- ad filterers do.

But what’s behind this passion for small-ticket items?

One reason, of course, is the reality of 2020.

It’s almost impossible to overstate the impact that COVID-19 has had on the world of ecommerce. Consumers across all demographics are flexing their purchasing power online, prompting a shift that Forbes refers to as “accelerating the adoption curve.” And this acceleration is like nothing that preceded it.

As reported in Forbes:

This moment in modern retail history is unprecedented, and there is no playbook for it. Even those retailers who strategically invested in digital technology years ago never saw this coming.

If ecommerce in 2020 is a rising wave, small-ticket items are the crest: the result of ad-ons that buoy the consumer towards free shipping. The rates of shopping cart abandonment due to high shipping costs are well documented, and making small additional purchases—which, unsurprisingly in the era of COVID, often tend towards the hygiene-related—often gets consumers to the dollar amount that can result in free shipping.

And, of course, coronavirus has also prompted an uptick in the amount of media purchased online, whether that means online subscriptions of magazines or streaming services. In a time when Saturday night is synonymous with wearing pyjamas, eating popcorn, and watching movies at home, it’s unsurprising that these sorts of purchases would be on the rise.

We think that a thoughtful look into the smaller purchases made by ad filterers is a fitting way to end our recap series, because it ultimately underlines something fundamental about ad filterers in general: their behavioral patterns follow those of…well, everyone else.

Ad filterers may be on the whole more educated, younger, and more affluent than the average citizen, but their tastes and preferences don’t diverge from non- ad blocking users. In fact, they tend to be ever-so-slightly ahead of the curve—the kind of early adopters and forward-thinkers that can suggest the future of larger trends and patterns.


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.