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Will consumers pay for an ad-free experience?
Consumers have never liked online advertising, and many ignore it, but would they be prepared to pay for ad-free versions of their favorite websites? Mike Vorhaus ran a survey for AdAge over the weekend to find out.
Mike Vorhaus believed that consumers would be prepared to pay a small yearly or monthly subscription for an ad-free experience on their favorite sites. He was wrong.
The vast majority, 84%, said they would be unlikely or not at all likely to pay for ad-free content. Just 5% said they would be very likely to pay at any level.
According to the AdAge report, "When we asked consumers if they would pay $39.99 a year, which comes out to less than $4 a month, for an ad-free version of one of their favorite sites, only 2.4% said definitely yes, they would be likely to do so. And only 3.5% said they'd be very likely."
Some might argue that, with consumers increasingly installing ad-blocker software, they are already able to control their online experience sufficiently - free of charge. AdBlock Plus, for example, regularly sees weekly downloads of over 300,000.
Also to be factored in is 'ad blindness' whereby consumers literally become blind to online ads. According to Jakob Nielsen this is particularly true of display ads. "Ads might as well not exist as far as users are concerned, except for search ads. For the longest time, the web has been in collective denial of this phenomenon," said Nielsen.
"People still have this old media thinking: They think of the web being similar to TV because it's on the screen and visual. The main distinction is whether it's active or passive, not whether it's on a screen or not."
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