Four of Five American Consumers Ignore Online Ads Most Frequently

According to the results of the first annual Goo Online Advertising Survey, from Goo Technologies, 82% of Americans ignore online ads, ahead of television ads at 37%. 92% of Americans ignore at least one type of ad seen every day across six different types of media.

The online ads Americans are most likely to ignore included: online banner ads (73%), followed by social media ads (62%), and search engine ads (59%). The highest wage earners, those with a household income of $100k+ per year, were statistically more likely than those households making less than $50k per year (86% vs. 78%, respectively) to say they ignore online ads. Overall, the 65+ age group ignored the most, while the 35-44 age group ignored the least

Ads Among Those Ignored The Most (% of US Adults 18+; Multiple Response OK)

Ad Type

% of Population Ignoring Most Frequently

Online ads (net)


Online banner


Online social media 


Online search engine


TV ads


Radio ads


Newspaper ads


Source: Goo Technologies/Harris Interactive, February 2014


42% said that interactive ads are the most engaging, citing several reasons, including that they look more interesting (20%), don’t feel like it’s an ad at all (15%), and look new and high tech (12%).

When asked what improvements would make them pay more attention to online ads, more than half 58% of Americans, 69% of Millennials (ages 18-34), suggested the following:

  • Make the ad funny   40%
  • Make it entertaining   32%
  • Add stunning graphics   19%

10% of Americans even said they were more likely to pay attention to an online ad if it featured a sexy man or woman. Millennials are more likely than any other age group (21% vs. 9% of those ages 35+) to say they would pay attention to online ads if they were interactive.

Marcus Krüger, executive chairman, Goo Technologies, says “… results of the study point to a concern for advertisers… online ads have become so pervasive… many say they are now ignoring them altogether… consumers not only want funny, more interesting… but are also demanding… more engagement with impressive graphics and interactivity… “

Please visit here for more information from Goo Technologies.


12 comments about "Four of Five American Consumers Ignore Online Ads Most Frequently ".
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  1. Douglas Ferguson from College of Charleston, February 25, 2014 at 6:49 a.m.

    What ads? All of my computers have AdBlock Plus installed, which blocks most ads.

  2. Steven Herron from IssueTrak, February 25, 2014 at 10:08 a.m.

    Seems like this is further evidence on how inefficient online advertising is despite advances in tracking and behavioral targeting.

    With regards to Douglas' comment about using AdBlock, it does provide insight into why more and more consumers are using that type of app. Users seem to view advertising as intrusive and an interruption of their online experience. That in itself may be the driving force behind the importance of content marketing. Rather than push a marketing message onto the consumer, consumers now want to select what content they wish to view and it needs to be presented in a fashion that is helpful to them.

  3. Geoff Pickering from Blue Brahma, February 25, 2014 at 12:56 p.m.

    With all due respect Steven, this study is not further evidence in any way.

    They do not show the sample size or how the data was collected; however, from the way the information is presented it appears to be a questionairre. After 24 years I've learned a valuable lesson - consumers rhetoric rarely match their action - consumers make statements that they believe to be true or align with their belief system. I would bet they would also say that "advertising doesn't work on them."

    One more issue - display ads are not intrusive - they are contiguous to content that a consumer has requested. Television ads are intrusive - they literally make you stop engaging in content you want to consume - that's intrusive.

    At least with digital media we can validate one thing - the impression that was served was on the same page of the content that the user was engaged with, if even for a second. That point alone is leap years ahead of Nielsen or Arbitron Ratings or even worse Readership figures based on a Rate Base or Circulation figures of a newspaper or magazine - all of these make huge leaps that consumers are ever exposed to an advertising message.

    For me this discussion is getting old unless we as an industry elevate the discussion around how this form of advertising plays a role in a mix of media to engage a prospect or customer at the right time, with the right message to fulfill a need they have.

  4. Jack Loechner from Mediapost Communications, February 25, 2014 at 2:55 p.m.

    thanks, Steve... good positive direction for our readers... jack

  5. Geoff Pickering from Blue Brahma, February 25, 2014 at 4:53 p.m.

    I guess my response doesn't read positive. I just read an article within MediaPost that gets to my POV.

    Data And Context for Brand Advertisers Flying Blind Today: Umbel's 'HO' Maycotte by Skip Brand, 2 hours ago

  6. Mike Einstein from the Brothers Einstein, February 25, 2014 at 4:59 p.m.

    @ Geoff: Just curious RE: your assertion that "display ads are not intrusive - they are contiguous to content that a consumer has requested." Did you happen to catch another MP article today that claims more than 60% of all clicks are fraudulent?

  7. Geoff Pickering from Blue Brahma, February 25, 2014 at 5:07 p.m.

    @Mike: I did.

    Is there a question or statement in your post?

    What does a comment about ad placement being close to "content a consumer requested" e.g., an article in WSJ or MediaPost versus completely intrusive in blocking content such as a TV ad have to do with fraudulent click throughs?

    Apples and oranges.

  8. Mike Einstein from the Brothers Einstein, February 25, 2014 at 6:48 p.m.

    Geoff, You're the one who mentioned display ads being contiguous to content. I'm saying if 60%+ of the ads are fraudulent, then how do we know they're contiguous to anything? They certainly can't intrude on anyone if they don't really exist, can they? All things considered, you may want to rethink your "leap years ahead" position in this ridiculous debate- which, by your own admission is getting old.

  9. Geoff Pickering from Blue Brahma, February 25, 2014 at 8:24 p.m.

    Mike - this is becoming a tedious. Read your statement again. You stated "more than 60% of all CLICKS are fraudulent"

    Ad Impressions are one thing (Apples). Clicks are another (Oranges).

    Clicks can certainly be fraudulent and I wouldn't doubt that as an industry it could be as high as 60%. That's coming from agencies and people that don't know what they are doing. If you have a great analytics team, an industry standard ad-serving platform and a verification solution such as Double Verify, click fraud is not an issue.

    Fraudulent ad impressions can be managed too, again with a service like DV. We only work with clients that implement a verification service like DoubleVerify to guarantee that the ads impressions are met and served to the appropriate Websites (endemic or display networks) within the requested content (THUS CONTIGUOUS). So that's how good digital markets know that they are getting what they paid for.

    So, all things considered I'm not rethinking anything. You may want to confront subjects you actually understand. Interested in your response Mike.

  10. Mike Einstein from the Brothers Einstein, February 26, 2014 at 10:58 a.m.

    Geoff, I guess you must be one of those rare breeds who knows what he's doing. Speaking of rare breeds, do you realize that when someone does a search of Blue Brahma, all that comes up are specialty chickens?

  11. Andrew Udell from Andrew B Udell Consulting LLC, February 28, 2014 at 8:51 a.m.

    While the 'ignoring' rates may be higher - I am curious how the ROIs compare. If the audience is larger, better targeted and the cost is less - the digital marketing still may be a better option than alternatives.

  12. Stephanie Reid from Shelby Publishing, March 11, 2014 at 1:10 p.m.

    Very interesting debate indeed. Can anyone suggest a source for similar research pointed at B2B mediums as opposed to consumer?

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