According to a Sept. 20 study by creative services agency Anatomy Media, which surveyed 2,700-plus millennials on their digital behaviors, two out of every three millennials ages 18-24 are using an ad blocker on their desktop or mobile devices, a serious concern for companies relying on digital ad revenues.
“Ad blocking is a social norm among young millennials,” the report reads. “People do not adopt regressive technology (in this case, viewing ad-supported television on a television set) as they age. Instead, these young millennials are early tech adopters and evangelists.”
The report found that 43% of those millennials who do use ad blocking technology do so simply to avoid intrusive ads, while 21% reported using ad blocking to speed up their browsing.
￼￼￼￼Millennials use ad blockers to assert control over their user experience, reduce their data usage, and get access to their desired content faster. When young consumers use ad blocking technology, they do so to avoid ads on their video content, with little thought given to ads on sites and pages dealing in written content, the report concluded. Sixty-four percent of respondents said they use ad blocking to avoid video advertising, especially to pass on pre-roll ads for short-form content.￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼
Employing an ad block wall — where ad blocking software is detected and users are prevented from accessing a site’s content until the ad block software is disabled — is one route publishers can take to confront ad blocking. But according to the Anatomy Media study, only one of the 17 networks it audited (CBS) is doing so.
“Over the last two decades, networks have developed on-air strategies to retain and build live viewership including seamless break architecture, squeezing credits and other tactics to boost C3 and C7 ratings,” the report reads. “￼￼Now video publishers must monitor streaming viewership and structure the viewer experience with the same diligence.
“￼Millennials will accept advertising as long as it is restrained, targeted and relevant. Publishers need viewers to disable ad blockers by leveraging an ad block wall. However, hand in glove with this, ad-supported publishers must work to improve digital commercial advertising break architecture.”