Hubspot and AdBlock Plus developer Eyeo have released the results of a strangely redundant survey on why people use ad blocking plugins on their sites.
A total of 1,055 people were polled online in US, UK, Germany, and France, in June of this year. Thanks to quotas about 70% of the survey group used ad blockers, and 30% did not. (The report says the survey takers were also screened for laptop or desktop computer and smartphone ownership, but it’s not clear what that means.)
The survey found that people hated ads, with pop-up, mobile, and pre-roll video adverts leading the list. The survey group generally agreed that ads are more intrusive, and more common, than only a few years ago, and when it came to mobile ads the survey group cited pop-over, ads that follow you from desktop to mobile, and video ads in games.
If you’ve spent time online recently then none of this should come as a surprise, nor would it surprise you why people block ads.
Much of the survey results match with what I have read in news coverage, comments, or social media, although there is one part that struck me as oddly redundant.
A later section of the survey invited respondents to justify their use of ad blocking plugins.
In light of the huge revenue losses facing content producers and advertisers, we asked ad blocker users: if they had to justify their use of ad blocking software, what would they have to say?
Half of ad blocker users see it as a way to control their online browsing experience. For them, it’s a right and a convenience. 44% also echoed concerns around slow load times.
Worryingly for content producers, 15% matter of factly state that they don’t care how websites make money.
I find this question redundant because my justification would be security, and that wasn’t even an option for this question. Instead respondents were limited to just self-serving answers which make them sound petulant and entitled.
To be clear, I am not accusing the survey group of anything; this was a poorly-conceived question. It should have been either reworded or struck from the survey.
It’s the kind of question that some site (Nieman Journalism Lab, for example) latched on to so they could bash ad block users.
I’d rather focus on more important details like the 32% of ad block users who would never turn off their ad blocker for any reason, or the 28% of the survey group which would rather stop visiting a site rather than turn off their ad blocker. (For some reason that question was directed at the entire survey group, rather than just ad block users.)
Both of those stats suggest that the websites that are fighting ad block users are going to cost themselves visitors in the long run. The survey also found that only a small minority of web users are willing to pay, so tricks like Wired’s semi-porous paywall won’t work either.
Did you see anything interesting in the report?