A new global research study by Accenture finds that the majority of consumers (61%) are aware of ad blockers, and four in 10 (42%) would pay to remove ad interruptions. The study, released on Monday, polled 28,000 consumers in 28 countries and made general predictions about the ad-blocker phenomenon.
"Ad blockers are a relatively new threat to the digital advertising industry,” said Gavin Mann, Accenture’s global broadcast industry lead. “Consumers are increasingly willing to pay for blockers because too many ads are poorly targeted. In today’s world of personalized content, being forced to watch an ad that has no relevance is a missed opportunity and feels increasingly intrusive on precious screen-time. In fact, simple avoidance of content associated with heavy and repetitive irrelevant advertising will increase as consumer choice and awareness of choice increases.”
The survey finds that young consumers are especially aware of ad blockers compared with older age groups. More than two-thirds (69%) of those aged 18 to 24, and almost the same number (66%) of those between 25 and 34, say they’re aware of ad interruption technologies.
Regionally, ad-blocker awareness is especially pervasive in Latin America (78%) and the Middle East (69%). In addition, consumers in emerging markets are significantly more likely than those in mature markets--47% vs. 34%--to say they plan to pay to eliminate ad interruptions.
Mann said the industry needs to do everything possible to make ads less of an infringement on precious screen time, by building on early successes that deliver targeted, relevant and entertaining ads. He urged the industry to focus on creative that caters to consumers.
Accenture recommends that digital advertising organizations invest in user experience and user interface transformation, production studios and post-production support resources and facilities. Advertisers need to offer value-added creative capabilities and more robust, customized services to consumers.
The findings indicate that digital advertising is under attack, impacting not just advertisers but broadcasters, cable providers, Internet service providers, content creator networks and consumers. The cat-and-mouse game between digital advertisers and ad blocking providers will be a major story as vendors release programmatic solutions backed by powerful analytics engines. These solutions will do a better job of pulling data together from disparate sources and matching ads with specific audiences.
Accenture expects to see programmatic advertising that will travel across devices for a consistent ad experience.
One of Accenture’s takeaways is not to make the mistake of putting the majority of effort into fighting ad blocking; it’s an impossible battle to win. The company suggests it's more important to focus on moving the entire ecosystem forward and making advertising less invasive and more personalized.
“Find out what the audience is interested in. We’re in the early stages of moving the media relationship from one to many, to one to one,” Mann said.