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Micky Gramlin
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An examination of the current impact and future potential of mobile ad-blocking in the USA Part 2

Published on 10/27/2017
For additional information  Click Here






This report has been written, designed and produced

by the GWI Custom Research team and the GWI Trends team.


The Demographics of the Ad-Blocker Audience

Part 2


Who are the USA’s current adblockers, what motivates them to block ads and what devices are they using?


A major catalyst in the development of mobile ad-blocking came in 2015, following Apple’s announcement that the new iOS 9 would allow users to download ad-blocking extensions through the mobile Safari browser. The hype surrounding this event inevitably raised the profile of mobile ad-blocking and led many to wonder whether the trend would quickly catch on, especially in the West.

Fast-forward to 2017, and it’s clear that mobile ad-blocking for the most part remains an Asian phenomenon. The importance attached to more traditional internet devices such as PCs, laptops and desktops in the US compared to smartphones has been a key factor in the slow uptake of mobile ad-blocking in this market.

Globally, ad-blocking on any device is still a trend which skews towards certain demographics, and the US is no exception – respondents who report having used an ad-blocker in the last month see higher representation among the 25-34 age group. This group is also notably more likely to be male (almost 6 in 10 are)

The Motivations Behind Ad-Blocking

It’s ad-frustration which is the biggest driver of adblocking uptake in the US. Respondents were most likely to state that ad-overload, irrelevant content, intrusive formats and slow page load speeds motivate them to deploy an ad-blocker. Privacy concerns are certainly not insignificant, with around 3 in 10 US Ad-Blockers stating that they are concerned about ads compromising their online privacy, and 1 in 4 saying they don’t like ads which are personalized based on their browsing history. But most of all it’s poor user experience which is driving this resistance to ads

This becomes abundantly clear when we compare those who have blocked an ad in the last month with those who have previously blocked an ad but not in the past month. Overall, those who have used an ad-blocker in the past month display a remarkably stronger inclination to resist ads, with as many as 1 in 3 recent ad-blockers saying they try to avoid ads wherever possible, whether on TV or online, dropping to 27% among previous users of adblockers. Age inevitably plays a part here, as the previous users of ad-blockers typically fall within the 45-64 age group, and although older US internet users tend to exhibit stronger privacy concerns online, it’s pretty clear that younger consumers are more willing (and arguably more digitally capable) to take control of their online experience.


AD-BLOCKING MOTIVATIONS % of US Ad-Blocker Users who say they use ad-blockers for the following reasons (Top 6)


49% Too many ads are annoying or irrelevant

40% I think there are too many ads on the internet

40% I find to many online asa intrusive

37% Ads take up too much space and just get in the way  

33% I want to speed up the time it takes for things to load up on my device

32% I try to avoid ads whenever possible, TV or online


GlobalWebIndex segments ad-blockers according to the reasons they cite for ad-blocking (definitions of each segment can be found here). These segments reiterate the trend we saw earlier: those blocking ads in the US are most likely to be “frustrated”, blocking ads because they take up too much screen space, are annoying, intrusive or because there’s simply too many of them. Crucially, this is the top motivational segment for each age group, with 40%+ in each age bracket among ad-blocker users falling into this category.

But what this also shows us is that ad-blocker usage does not necessarily equate to zero exposure to ads; rather, multi-device usage, whitelisting and selective usage of blocking browsers all mean that people blocking ads in some contexts can still be exposed to them in others.

No automatic alt text available.


Just as ad-blocking uptake is predominantly clustered around younger internet users, the same is largely true among the “Selective” ad-blocker group (those who have blocked ads in the past month but who say they have clicked on an online ad or that they discover brands/products through ads seen online or ads seen before online videos/ TV shows start to play), with as many as 1 in 3 25-34 ad-blocker users being characterized as a “Selective” ad-blocker.


Next time we will take a look

Ad-Blocking by Device


Thank you for stopping by!

Micky Gramlin



An examination of the current impact and future potential of mobile ad-blocking in the USA

Part 3 An examination of the current impact and future potential of mobile ad-blocking in the USA




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