News consumers who use ad blockers primarily install them because they’re fed up with the volume and distracting nature of ads in general. However, as results from Reuters Institute’s 2016 “Digital News Report” [pdf] attest, privacy and site performance are also key considerations.
Among the US respondents (all of whom had consumed news in the prior month) who had installed an ad blocker, about 2 in 3 said that they did so due to the volume and distracting nature of the ads they encountered. However, a majority (55%) also said they dislike ads that follow them around from one site to another, suggesting that privacy concerns are also critical. Additionally, half said they installed the technology to improve the speed at which pages load. This was a bigger reason for ad blocking users in the US than for those in 9 other selected countries. (Although new research from Catchpoint Systems suggests that ad blockers could actually slow load times on some pages.)
Overall, 24% of news consumers surveyed in the US reported having installed ad blockers, though that figure was considerably higher among 18-24-year-olds (44%). The US was in the middle of the spectrum of ad blocking prevalence, which generally ranged from 20% on the lower end to 38% on the higher end, save for a couple of outliers in Korea (12%) and Japan (10%).
Meanwhile, advertising presents a barrier to news video consumption, per the report. Only 24% of respondents (across all countries) who had looked at news online in the prior week reported having consumed online news video, which the analysts deem “surprisingly weak growth given the explosive growth and prominence on the supply side.” Part of the problem appears to be pre-rolls: among those who don’t usually watch news video online, more than one-third (35%) said it was because pre-roll ads tend to put them off. That was the second-leading reason, only behind finding reading quicker and more convenient (41%).
The US had the largest proportion of news video consumers, at 33%.
In other compelling highlights from the report, which was carried out among more than 50,000 news consumers across 26 countries:
Subscribe now to receive more charts and articles like this in your inbox. A fast read in a clean, mobile-friendly design.