60% of Users Will Disable Ad Blockers for Certain Domains, Indicating an Opportunity for Advertisers

Tech-Savvy Consumers Want to Pick and Choose Where They View Ads, Concludes a New Report. Businesses Should Cater to These Consumers with User-Friendly Ads and Offer Customization Features or Paid Ad-Free Experiences

Ad blockers may be popular, but nearly 60% of people who use them voluntarily disable the technology – or “whitelist” – for certain website pages or domains, according to a new consumer survey from portfolio website Visual Objects.

Visual Objects surveyed 500 people who use ad blockers to understand their ad preferences and why they “whitelist” domains. The report helps businesses effectively market to ad blocker users.

The findings indicate that businesses can still reach users of ad blockers by improving their ads’ user experience (UX) and putting consumers in control of their ad experiences through customization and feedback features.

Most People Whitelist Ads on Social Media

Over half of people who whitelist websites (56%) do so on social media. Experts say businesses can reach ad-blocking internet users more effectively on social media channels.

Ben Williams, director of advocacy at eyeo, says social media ads are less intrusive, so ad-fatigued consumers are more likely to tolerate them.

“A lot of the ads you see on social media happen within the feed,” Williams said. “I don’t think the annoyance factor is quite as high because you can scroll right through it.”

Ads on other types of websites often disrupt the user experience by slowing the load time of a page or creating a barrier to important content. Less than 30% of survey respondents whitelist news websites, and only 17% whitelist smaller blogs.

Social media ads offer a better user experience than traditional banner and pop-up ads, creating a channel for businesses looking to expand their advertising reach.

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Users of Ad Blockers Want to Customize Their Ad Experiences

Social media is also ad blocker users’ favorite place to customize ads; 45% of survey respondents say they have customized their Facebook ads, and two-thirds of ad blocker users (66%) have customized ads online.

When businesses allow users to customize ads, it satisfies ad-blocking consumers’ desire to have more control over their ad experience.

Louis Belpaire, director of paid media and analytics at digital marketing firm Silverback Strategies, supports ad customization.

“Being able to remove irrelevant ad experiences quickly results in more relevant, targeted ads,” Belpaire said. “It really helps both advertisers and users get better quality content.”

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Respondents Divided on Paying for Ad-Free Browsing

People who use ad blockers diverge when asked about paying a premium for ad-free browsing, the survey found. Thirty-five percent of respondents say they are unlikely to pay for an ad-free internet experience compared to 40% who say they are likely to pay.

As ad-free browsers and paid subscription models become more popular, the survey suggests that ad-supported businesses should experiment with offering fee-based, ad-free options on their websites.

Visual Objects surveyed 500 people in the US who use ad blockers.

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