This piece was originally featured in marketingsherpa
Everyone today has an opinion about online ads. We wear two hats: we’re online marketers and online browsers who consume voracious amounts of content. So the ad blocking phenomenon, and the debate surrounding it, is incredibly interesting for us as observers. As inbound marketers, we see the need for businesses and content creators to hit their bottom line, but as online content consumers, we also see a lot of annoying ads.Based on the way the landscape is evolving, the future of online advertising is looking more and more tenuous. We wondered: is there a way that content producers and ad publishers can make money without creating a hugely disruptive and annoying ad experience? What kind of advertising do online browsers tolerate today, and why do they use ad blockers to begin with? With even Google considering an ad blocker for Chrome, the idea that newly empowered consumers can choose not to view certain ads is an even more looming concern for marketers and publishers.So, in this Chart of the Week article, we take a look at why consumers block online ads, specifically broken down by different income levels.A survey of 2,400 consumers, sampled to reflect a close match to the U.S. population’s demographics: Why do you block online ads?
Disruptive ads are the top consumer complaint at all income levels
Overall, three out of 10 Americans block online ads because they said, “I dislike large ads that pop up over the entire webpage.”
This was the top reason for every income group as well, peaking at a third (33%) of consumers making $50,000 – $74,900. When we asked consumers about how they prefer to receive ads from companies, online pop-ups were the second-to-least preferred type of ad, while social media ads, online banner ads and search engine ads ranked significantly higher.
More affluent consumers less swayed by value of advertising
The clearest trendline we discovered based on income was to the response “I know the value of advertising but I don’t care,” climbing from 9% of respondents making less than $24,900 to 14% of respondents making $75,000 or more.
This could be because less affluent customers are more likely to appreciate the free content than more affluent customers who consider it a waste of their (more valuable) time. One way you could put this data into action is to emphasize the free value they receive because of your advertising if your ideal customer is in a lower income demographic, but attempt to create premium, advertising-free experiences if your focus is a more affluent demographic.
Disdain for audio autoplay varies by income as well
“Audio AutoPlay of online ads is intrusive” grew from 17% of respondents making less than $24,900 to 24% of consumers making $75,000 to $99,900, before dropping to 16% of consumers making $100,000 or more.
This may be due to consumers’ work experience. The likelihood of working in an office setting could increase as income increases. However, once income climbs above $100,000, those same office workers might have a private office and not be on the floor of an open office floor plan, thus less sensitive to noise.
Whatever the reason, it brings up a more fundamental point when engaging in online advertising: consider not only the content of your advertising but the context in which your prospective customers are interacting with it.