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When It Comes to Advertising, Online Users Get It; Just Let Them Stay in the Driver’s Seat

When It Comes to Advertising, Online Users Get It; Just Let Them Stay in the Driver’s Seat

80 percent of British online users recognize the role advertising plays in keeping the internet free, says new research from eyeo

COLOGNE, Germany & SAN FRANCISCO — The importance of advertising to a free internet cannot be overstated. New research from YouGov, commissioned by eyeo, makers of Adblock PlusFlattr and Trusted News, confirms that this sentiment is recognized among 80 percent of online users within Great Britain. The research also indicates that users demand control of their online experience and expect a transparent value exchange on advertising.

“The idea that online users care little about the health of the internet is a tired notion we’re pleased to disprove”

Online users are willing to accept less invasive forms of advertising in exchange for retaining control of their internet experience. Building a fairer value exchange will not only lead to better engagement among users but will also create greater scope for future revenue opportunities among publishers and advertisers alike.

The findings were aimed at understanding attitudes and behaviors towards ad-blocking and advertising among online users in Great Britain. The research polled over 2,000 British online users, of which 878 participants registered as having an ad-blocker installed on their digital devices.*

“The idea that online users care little about the health of the internet is a tired notion we’re pleased to disprove,” said Ben Williams, Director of Advocacy at eyeo. “Our research clearly shows most online users understand the role advertising plays sustaining the internet, which is why we’re seeing a greater shift from total ad-blocking to ad-filtering.”

“Online users are happy to receive adverts so long as they remain in control but become agitated when that control is wrestled from them. Not only is this backed up in our research but also in various studies, for instance from HubSpot (83 percent of global online users only wanted to block ads they considered invasive) and PageFair (77 percent of US ad-blocking users are willing to view some ad formats in exchange for free content).

“Unfortunately, there is a widespread misperception that people don’t understand the value exchange they engage in with publishers online, which has led to some parties adopting counter measures, such as circumvention technologies. We now know that such tactics go against the wishes of the user (as discussed within the report in the chapter Transparency is Key) and will only drive audiences away, which inherently drives down revenue opportunities for publishers.”

Williams continues, “Consider the demographic of the ad-blocking user. They tend to be younger (millennials), educated, tech-savvy and employed with a higher-than-average salary. They are likely to make purchases online and in fact, more likely to buy a product online after seeing an ad. Ad-blocking users are also likely to spend more money online on a monthly basis than non-ad-blocking users. Our research revealed 50 percent of British online users rarely click on ads, with a further 27 percent stating they never click on ads; the importance of this community to the future of online advertising is hugely critical.”

Other key findings from the research revealed:

  • 71 percent of British ad-blocking users say the reason for downloading an ad-blocker is because users don’t want to see advertisements during their online experience.
  • 49 percent of British ad-blocking users install an ad-blocker due to security/privacy concerns online. This might suggest there is a perceived threat linked to digital advertising and that users recognize ad-blocking as a partial antidote.
  • 89 percent of British ad-blocking users deemed it important publishers make their advertising policy clear, notably that an advertiser is honest about the products or services they promote, they avoid content that misleads or offends, and they must never compromise user privacy.

Williams concluded: “It’s clear that online users want a fairer value exchange with publishers and advertisers. Many are willing to accept advertising to keep the internet free but only for ads which are relevant to them. Savvy publishers are readily buying into this, developing better, high-quality forms of sustainable advertising and hopefully these insights will serve to educate others. In line with increased advertising spend, the platform is in place to build on demand for better forms of advertising, in order to create a more lasting future for the internet and its stakeholders.”

For access to the report, please click the link here.

About eyeo

eyeo is the developer of a suite of products that includes FlattrAdblock Browser and Adblock Plus, an open source project that aims to rid the Internet of annoying and intrusive online advertising. Its free web browser extensions (add-ons) put users in control by letting them block or filter which ads they want to see. Users across the world have downloaded Adblock Plus over a billion times, and it has remained the most downloaded and the most used extension almost continuously since November 2006. PC Magazine named the extension as one of the best free Google Chrome extensions, and it received About.com readers’ choice award for best privacy/security add-on.

Adblock Plus is a free browser add-on for Safari, Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Maxthon and Opera for desktop users, and offers a free browser for mobile users on iOS and Android.

eyeo’s mission is to put users in control of a fair, profitable web.

Follow us at @AdBlockPlus
Read our blog at adblockplus.org/blog
For more information, please visit eyeo.com/en/press


All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 2,023 adults, of which 878 were ad blocker users. Fieldwork was undertaken between 7th – 8th January 2019. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults online (aged 18+).