NEWS27 April 2016

Intrusive ads pushing uptake of ad blockers

Media Mobile News Trends UK

UK – Media owners, ad agencies and consumers will all lose out as ad blocking software is increasingly used according to research from KPMG.

Ad blocking_crop

As web and mobile users don’t want intrusive ads but are also unwilling to pay for much of what they’re reading and viewing online, the current business model for media owners and content consumers needs to change.

KPMG’s Media Tracker research of more than 2,000 UK adults found that 47% of high earners said they would be using ad blockers in the next six months, compared with 43% for low income groups. In terms of age it’s the younger users who are most likely to use ad blockers – 59% of 18- to 24-year-olds compared with 36% of over-65s.

KPMG points to one avenue some media businesses are exploring, to turn off content for browsers where an ad blocker is detected. This has been adopted by Forbes, CityAM and the New Statesman with others considering it.

David Elms, UK head of media for KPMG, said: “Turning off content for those that have ad blockers is self-defeating for media owners and can, at best, only be a short term strategy. Too many people still seem to think that they can consume content for free. But there’s no such thing as a free lunch in content. People are refusing to watch ads, but they show no inclination to pay for many forms of content – and that’s clearly unsustainable. It demands a fundamental re-examination of marketing strategy for major advertisers – and business strategy for media owners.

“The solution has to be for media owners, their ad agencies and their technology providers to deliver ads in a consumer-friendly way that is less intrusive. Ultimately, consumers need to either learn to accept an ad or pay not to see it. The solution seems to be the middle ground. When ads become more sophisticated, less intrusive and even more targeted, ad blocking will become far less significant. Until then, the picture will only worsen for media owners, advertisers and consumers themselves.

The Media Tracker found that 92% of UK households are unwilling to pay a monthly fee for ad-free browsing.