Adverts on the Internet are like mothers in law: you can’t live with them, and you can’t live without them. But what if you could have an ad-free browsing experience? The only catch is you’d have to pay something in the region of £140 a year.
Yet according to survey data released by social bods Ebuzzing, a whopping 98% of UK web users said they wouldn’t pay the hypothetical ad tax.
The survey, which polled 1400 consumers, found that users were between a rock and a hard place, hating having adverts forced upon them, but unwilling to pay to eradicate them if such a solution were available.
Regarding specific tactics users deploy, the majority (63%) said they skipped the advert as quickly as they could. This was particularly prevalent for 16-24 year olds (75%).
For videos with adverts that can’t be skipped, ad avoidance plans include muting the sound (26%), scrolling away from the video (20%), and in extreme cases opening a new browser window or tab to avoid the heinous promotional content. Surprisingly, only 16% of consumers polled said they used ad blocker software.
It’s not an understatement to say ad avoidance, in whatever guise, has been a major issue for brands in recent months and years. Many companies, fed up with the ineffectiveness of banner ads, now do native advertising, or that dreaded word, ‘advertorial’.
Ultimately, it’s still a problem looking for a solution, with lots of budding ad tech firms hoping their product will break through. The latest cab off the rank is AdDetector, a plug-in app for Chrome and Firefox which alerts users to sponsored content on sites such as BuzzFeed, The Huffington Post and The Wall Street Journal, ensuring readers avoid the pang of disappointment upon realising they’ve just become a client’s statistic.
Another ad tech startup, Adpoints, takes a different approach: watch these adverts and we’ll give you shiny offers for discounts at participating retailers. Users also have to give feedback on the advert, so you can’t just watch ads ad nauseam (pardon the expression) to build up your stash.
So in a perfect world, what would make viewers gleefully watch brands’ ads? One in three (34%) said the ad should be relevant to them, one in five (20%) said they should select the ad they choose to watch – which is another way of saying the same thing – while 16% said the ads should be relevant to the content being watched at the time.
Jeremy Artidi, UK managing director and SVP international at Ebuzzing, told MarketingTech: “With online video adverts it is absolutely essential to capture attention within the first five seconds as your audience can vanish with just one click.
“Think of Volvo Truck’s advert featuring Jean Claude Van Damme last year, or Evian’s Baby & Me,” he added. “The product hardly features in either of these videos, but the campaigns were viewed 73 million and 130 million times respectively.”
While an online ad tax is of course purely hypothetical, it does draw parallels with the TV licence, the oft-criticised yet vitally important requirement to owning a TV in the UK.
In essence, consumers are paying £145.50 per year to the BBC to enable them to broadcast without showing external advertising. So, it figures if it can work for TV, it can work for online – although arbitration and ownership there is another thing entirely.