If two assumptions can be made about advertising, consumers are attempting to filter out intrusive ads, while advertisers are striving to capture their attention. These opposing behaviors actually create a better environment for advertisers and media agencies, with notable improvements in recall and positive brand associations, according to new research by MAGNA’s Media Trials unit and the ad-filtering technology company, eyeo, titled, "Reaching & Influencing Ad-Filtering Users."
The reality is that advertisers cannot ignore ad-filtering users. The overwhelming majority of ad-blocking software users — 250 million strong (who are actually ad-filtering users) — consent to see non intrusive online ads that adhere to the Acceptable Ads Standard, defined and approved by the independent Acceptable Ads Committee; they are a vast and highly desirable audience who do not block all ads. The MAGNA study determined that ad-filtering users are more likely to influence purchase decisions, across tech (81% ad-filtering users vs 74% non-filtering users); grocery (78% vs. 75%); financial services (74% vs. 64%) and auto (69% vs 64%). Further, according to AdBlock, desktop downloads have ballooned from 44 million users in 2012 users to 290 million in 2022, while mobile vaulted from 167 million users to 530 million users between 2015 and 2022.
“There is a growing audience of young consumers who advertisers should be paying close attention to — consumers who are opting for an ad filtered-online experience,” said Kara Manatt, EVP, managing director, Intelligence Solutions, MAGNA. “Interestingly, they don’t flat out reject ads but rather want to avoid intrusive formats and ad clutter on the web pages they visit. GenZ and Millennial audiences are not only a critical customer base for many industry verticals, but the reduced number of ads on webpages creates a premium environment for any advertiser, with better awareness, favorability, impact and sustainability metrics.”
In addition to exploring who ad-filtering users are and how they influence purchase decisions, the study also defined what role clutter plays in advertising effectiveness.
Among critical audiences, ads are more memorable on low cluttered pages. Ads on a low-clutter page received +82% lift in aided ad recall and +62% lift in unaided ad recall when looking at the percent difference between low clutter and high clutter pages.
Top-funnel metrics were also improved depending on the amount of advertising on the page. Study participants scored +9% in brand trust for an advertiser on a low-clutter page compared to zero change when encountering the same ad in a busier ad environment.
MAGNA and eyeo also examined the carbon impact of an ad-filtered page to that of a cluttered page, using Scope3 data, which indicated the benefits of ad-filtering go well beyond the consumer’s and advertiser’s initial objectives. Average carbon emissions (gCO2e) per webpage ranged significantly between high-cluttered (10) vs. low-cluttered (0.8).
“After a flurry of excitement when iOS 9 dropped in 2015, the media industry has collectively lost interest in ad blocking and ad filtering but consumers and publishers did not,” said Joshua Lowcock, global chief media officer at UM, the global media agency that is part of IPG Mediabrands. “This study shows that leaning into the ad-filtering audience provides an acceptable way to be respectful of users, recognize quality publishers, and drive better, more sustainable results without the need to be intrusive.”
Other key findings include:
● Future-Customer Base: 53% of Millennials report they use an ad-filtering software compared to 6% of Boomers. While only 19% of Gen Z are using filters, MAGNA Media Trials attributes this to ad-filtering users being the future customer base.
● Non Ad-Blocking Users Agree: People who have not installed ad blockers feel online ads are disruptive, frustrating and/or incessant at 73%, and they want to control the types of ads they see (63%) and number of ads (62%).
● Avert Your Eyes: Those without filters, at 95%, claim they avoid interacting with online ads to one extent or another.
● Less is More for the Environment: Less ad clutter has a big green side effect with lower carbon emissions, according to Scope3 data, as low-clutter webpages represent an 11.5 times reduction in carbon emissions (gCO2e).
"Reaching & Influencing Ad-Filtering Users" ran controlled testing among 1,289 consumers who saw display ads on high-clutter, with as many as four or five ads running on the page, and low-clutter webpages with an average of just one spot appearing, on desktops and laptops. Participants viewed advertising from three global brands — Sony, T-Mobile and Twitch — appearing in 12 different advertising environments, from pristine to cluttered.
The full study can be found here.
MAGNA is the leading global media investment and intelligence company. Our trusted insights, proprietary trials offerings, industry-leading negotiation and unparalleled consultative solutions deliver an actionable marketplace advantage for our clients and subscribers.
We are a team of experts driven by results, integrity and inquisitiveness. We operate across five key competencies, supporting clients and cross-functional teams through partnership, education, accountability, connectivity and enablement. For more information, please visit our website: https://magnaglobal.com/ and follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter.
eyeo is dedicated to empowering a balanced and sustainable online value exchange for users, browsers, advertisers and publishers. By building, monetizing and distributing ad-filtering technologies, we create solutions that allow all members of the online ecosystem to prosper. Our ad-filtering technology powers some of the largest ad blockers on the market, like Adblock Plus and AdBlock, and is distributed through partnerships to millions of devices. We currently have 250 million global ad-filtering users who consent to Acceptable Ads, an independently derived ad standard that determines whether an ad is acceptable and nonintrusive. To learn more, go to www.eyeo.com.
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