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July 29, 2014

Are Adult Consumers Ignoring Your Online Ads?

A recent study uncovers that adults tune out online advertising more than traditional media with help from ad block software.

As online advertising becomes more and more important it faces new challenges. A recent study of Americans 18+ indicates that people tend to ignore online advertisements more than traditional media ads. 82% of adult Americans say they ignore online advertising as opposed to 37%, 36% and 35% for television, radio and newspaper respectively. Banner ads, social media ads and search engine ads, all heavily utilized by the advertising industry, are the most frequently ignored according to the study. Not only are Americans beginning to tune out advertisements found online, companies such as Adblock are making it possible to shut them out completely. While ad block technologies started off small, downloaded only by extremely tech-savvy users, its usage is becoming more mainstream. Around 30% of online users enable some form of ad blocker. Adblock has over 200 million downloads on Firefox and continues to grow steadily.

So how can advertisers get around consumers who are tuning out their ads? The study shows that people are most responsive to ads that are funny, entertaining and employ stunning graphics. Certain companies, such as Kraft, Nike, Target and Walmart are using online video advertisements to capture people’s attention and allow them to engage with the content. For example, in one of Kraft’s ads, after a 15 second video clip, scrolling over the ad produces dessert recipes involving one of their products, cool whip. Digital video advertising is expected to grow 42% this year according to Adweek, generating a whopping $6 billion.

For online users who do employ ad block technology, most are not opposed to all advertisements. Adblock surveyed its own users and found that only 25% are strictly against any advertising content online. The majority use Adblock to get rid of annoying and intrusive ads. Users have called for the ability to unblock ads for certain sites. While users can turn ad block on and off to their pleasing, Adblock Plus is also launching an acceptable advertising policy that will allow advertising content following specific guidelines to be viewed. There are restrictions on the type, size and placement of the ad that the company will deem acceptable. It is expected that most Adblock Plus users will opt into this feature.

While the statistic of 82% of adult Americans ignoring online advertising may seem daunting, it appears that user are simply looking for more sophisticated, engaging content and hoping to avoid annoying ads. As we move further into this digital age advertisers must be sensitive to the preferences of online users and seek to develop ads that will be unobtrusive and engaging. A new study from Tremor video that looked at 300 video ad campaigns has shown that it is possible to get users to interact for a minute or more with a mere 15 second video ad. So while there are challenges to face with online advertising ahead, new innovate ways to reach online consumers still exist and can be highly effective.