Is personalization working for advertisers? Ad blockers say no

by | Aug 1, 2019 | Marketing, Public Relations

Businesses argue that personalization makes ads more useful for potential customers, but new research shows that ad-fatigued users disagree. In fact, nearly half of users of ad blockers (45 percent) say they would avoid a company’s website if that company targeted them with ads, according to a new survey report from portfolio website Visual Objects.

Users of ad blockers feel strongly about how their personal data is collected for advertising. Almost two-thirds of people who use ad blockers (63 percent) say data collection in online advertising is an invasion of privacy.

Tip: To avoid alienating these users, businesses must ensure ads that rely on user data do not reveal personal information, such as age, marital status, or schooling.

Is personalization working for advertisers? Ad blockers say no

Baby Boomers are most uncomfortable with data collection in advertising

Though most ad-blocker users feel that data collection is invasive, baby boomers are the generation most averse to highly targeted advertising. Almost three-quarters of baby boomers (72 percent) say that data collection from ads feels like an invasion of privacy.

By contrast, 58 percent of millennials and 64 percent of Generation X respondents feel that data collection invades their privacy online.

“I think younger people tend to be less threatened by data collection because it’s what they’ve known,” said Tim Smith, director of communications and media planning at IPNY, in a news release. “They’ve grown up with data breaches and they’ve almost always been connected and online.”

Smith also said that older internet users often have more to lose financially than younger users, making them more wary of data breaches.

Businesses should build trust with users of all ages by allowing them to access the personal data businesses collect and remove it if they desire.

Is personalization working for advertisers? Ad blockers say no

Gen X users are most likely to pay for ad-free browsing

As people increasingly demand more privacy online, some browsers, like Mozilla, have started offering options for users to go ad- and tracking-free for a price.

The survey found that younger ad blocker users are more likely to pay for this type of browsing. Almost half of Generation X users (47 percent) and 41 percent of millennials are willing to pay to browse ad-free, compared to only 29 percent of baby boomers.

Is personalization working for advertisers? Ad blockers say no

“It’s helpful to have an alternative option that allows people not to have ads when they’ve become a premium subscriber,” said Kyle Deming, founder at Chicago web services firm Wojo Design, in the release.

Offering an ad-free alternative for a small fee could help businesses build trust with users who feel strongly about invasive advertising and data collection, according to the survey.

Read the full survey report here.

Visual Objects surveyed 500 people who use ad blocking browser extensions to learn how ad-fatigued users feel about data collection and online privacy in advertising.

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Richard Carufel
Richard Carufel is editor of Bulldog Reporter and the Daily ’Dog, one of the web’s leading sources of PR and marketing communications news and opinions. He has been reporting on the PR and communications industry for over 12 years, and has interviewed hundreds of journalists and PR industry leaders. Reach him at; @BulldogReporter


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