Audience & Media Measurement

How Big Is Ad Avoidance?

Consumers have a variety of ways, tools and technology at their disposal to avoid advertising:

  • By skipping and flipping
  • Through shifting attention to a second screen
  • With money– via ad-free platforms and pay tiers
  • With blocking software

As “technology and money are empowering consumers to choose to avoid ads.”, consumers block advertising “because they can.” The result: “The media ecosystem is growing increasingly inhospitable to traditional ad constructs.”

With consumers seeking content on-the-go, small screens have become the preferred platform for digital content. Nearly two thirds of the time spent in digital comes from mobile apps. 18 to 24 year old consumers tend to spend four hours a day in mobile, 20% more than the second highest age group, 25 to 34 year olds.

Millennials and Gen Z are more likely to have installed ad blockers on computers than older generations. Males tend to run ad blockers more than females across all age groups. Even so, females 18-34 avoid ads more frequently than males 35+.

Higher household income also correlated with increased use of consumer ad blockers. Looking at patterns for two Top 10 publishers, ComScore found that households earning $200,000 or more were more than 40% more likely to block ads than those making less than $40,000.

Comscore predicted the convergence of these two patterns will increase ad avoidance : “As Millennials and Gen-Zers age and earn, their ad-avoiding ways will become empowered by income.”

The research has particular application for marketers using TV and video, as noted below.

Commercial pod length affects linear TV viewing: research showed that the longer the commercial pod, the less viewers will spend time in the room. Consumers will “get up and leave [since they] know how long a break will take.”

OTT and streaming show higher incidence among younger consumers:

  • Overall, 46% of respondents claim to watch Netflix via OTT in a month. In homes in which the head of household is between 18 to 34 years old, the percentage increases to 61%, followed by households with children (59%).
  • Those watching Amazon via OTT showed a similar pattern of younger consumers’ outpacing older ones, although for Amazon the incidence of viewing was also high among households headed by someone 35-54.
  • Streaming patterns directly correlate with age: the younger the age group, the more likely they are to be heavy streamers; conversely not streaming increases as consumers age.

Younger consumers also lag in paying for TV. When the head of household is 18-24 years old, that household is more than twice as likely not to pay for traditional TV compared to the population as a whole (58% vs. 27%). Households headed by someone 25-34 exhibit similar reticence: 45% of them do not pay for traditional TV.

The big question remains: “Will 18 to 34 year olds change their behavior as they get older, because they’re older, or is this something that stays with them through life and will diffuse throughout the population as people age?”

If marketers want to overcome ad avoidance, traditional methods need to adapt as younger targets show a different relationship with advertising.

The media ecosystem is growing increasingly inhospitable to traditional ad constructs.

Download PDF /1_AD-AVOIDANCExSCIENCE_Extent-of-ad-avoidance_Chasin.pdf