Americans Fed Up With Bad Ads

According to InsightsOne, with Harris Interactive, Americans Are Fed Up With Bad Ads, 87% of American adults 18 and over are putting their foot down on the number of irrelevant ads they are willing to see before they ignore a company completely. 23% of Americans say they will do so after seeing just one spam email or online ad, and 43% say they will ignore a company completely after seeing as many as two.

Annoying ads are pervasive, says the report, with 91% of Americans reporting they see them. While email spam and junk mail tend to get the most attention, many Americans are annoyed by website ad spam, email spam/sidebar ads, postal junk mail, television ads and ads on social media.

Media With Most Annoying Ads (91% of Americans; 2013)


% of Respondents





Email /sidebar ads


Postal junk mail


Social media


Source: InsightsOne, April 2013

The results create challenges for ecommerce companies that advertise and sell over the web. 88% of Americans say they have even been “flooded” with online ad spam, and 91% of those say they take action when it occurs.  36% of those who have ever been flooded with online ad spam say they would leave a website because of too many irrelevant ads, and many more feel that the company doing the advertising doesn’t respect their time.  For email, 60% will unsubscribe from future messages, but 45% will simply ignore future communications.

Actions Taken by US Internet Users Following Online Spam


% of Respondents

Unsubscribe from future emails


Ignore future emails


Leave website


Stop using product advertised


Boycott  company  advertising


Tell friends


Respond angrily


Source: InsightsOne, April 2013

Men were statistically more likely than women to take certain actions, including:

  • Stop using the product (17% vs. 11%)
  • Completely boycott the company doing the advertising (16% vs. 10%)
  • Respond angrily (7% vs. 3%)
  • Hit their computer or mobile device in frustration (5% vs. 3%)
  • Feel the company doesn’t respect their time (30% vs. 22%)

Source: InsightsOne, April 2013

Waqar Hasan, CEO of InsightsOne says “... consumers have a real limit on what they’re willing to put up with... will have a negative impact on a company’s income statement... “

The study looked at where the biggest problems are, and what ads people find more annoying. Overall, more Americans get annoyed by irrelevant pop-up ads and lottery scams.

Most Annoying Ads (Americans; 2013)

  • Irrelevant pop up ads   70%
  • Lottery scams   70%
  • Male enhancement ads   66%
  • Ads for products and services they do not need    58%
  • Female enhancement ads    54%
  • Money bequests from deceased African leaders   64%

Source: InsightsOne, April 2013

83% of people report that irrelevant advertisements are actually getting in the way of their activities, such as web surfing (51%), and online shopping (37%), further demonstrating that when ecommerce sites fail to treat customers as unique individuals and anticipate their needs, they may be damaging their reputation, says the report. 20% also report that irrelevant ads get in the way of working, and surprising percentages believe that irrelevant ads have now started to even get in the way of Working (20%), having sex (19%) and sleeping (13%).

44% of Americans won’t put up with more than three spam emails or online ads before they ignore a company completely; 83% report irrelevant ads are getting in the way of activities such as Sex (19%) and Sleeping (13%)

Hasan concludes that “... while the results of the study may seem amusing, they point to a real concern in American life... people are fed up with seeing ads and other communications that aren’t relevant to them as individuals...”

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3 comments about "Americans Fed Up With Bad Ads".
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  1. Douglas Ferguson from College of Charleston, May 7, 2013 at 8:09 a.m.

    People still watch annoying ads? Amazing. I guess TiVo has spoiled me. Badoop. Badoop. [TiVo sound effect] What commercial?

  2. Chris Vinson from Vinson Advertising, May 7, 2013 at 12:46 p.m.

    People have always hated annoying ads. But they hate to pay for things even more. So they tolerate the annoying ads and complain. The annoying ads make them reach for the fast forward, Tivo, mouse etc. so advertisers hurt the cause by publishing them. I'll always remember ShamWow. More self regulation would be nice but not realistic. I searched "Annoying ads" and there are hundreds of sites out there reporting on them but I didn't see any that are aggressively going after the publishers of the ads. There are quite a few reporting on how well annoying ads work.

  3. Kevin Horne from Verizon, May 7, 2013 at 5:33 p.m.

    Please compare this to any similar studies from like, um, 1998 ?

    This is news? To whom?

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