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BizReport : Advertising : August 17, 2016

Ad blocking: 'Value exchange' message may be getting through to consumers

The latest IAB quarterly report, carried out in conjunction with YouGov, reveals no recent uptick in ad blocker use among adults in the UK. In fact, confusion among consumers as to what is, and is not, an ad blocker may mean ad blocking levels are lower than the report suggests.

by Helen Leggatt

According to the latest figures from IAB/YouGov, the number of adults in the UK using ad blockers has not changed significantly between February 2016 (21.7%) and July 2016 (21.2%).

However, those figures may be lower than reported. More than 1 in 5 consumers who claim to use an ad blocker had confused it with anti-virus software or claimed to use ad blockers that don't exist.

But, says Guy Phillipson, IAB UK's CEO, this plateau in ad blocker use does not mean that moves towards "a less invasive, lighter and more user-friendly ad experience" should cease to be a key concern within the industry.

Interestingly, it would appear that the "value exchange" message is beginning to strike a chord with consumers. The realization that ads online fund free content and services, and that the alternative to advertising is being charged to access content, has led nearly 1 in 5 (18%) to say they are less likely to block ads in the future.

Additional findings of the report include:

- 50% of current ad blockers say they use Adblock Plus;
- 22% of those who have downloaded an ad blocker no longer use it;
- 68% of ad blocker users have seen messaging asking them to turn it off;
- 55% of ad blocker users said they would turn off the software if it was the only way they could access content, rising to 72% among those age 18-24.

Tags: ad blocking, advertising, UK

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