Digital ads have gotten too aggressive and intrusive for some people

There may be fewer pop ups now, but online ads still annoy people.
There may be fewer pop ups now, but online ads still annoy people.
Image: AP Photo/Steven Senne
We may earn a commission from links on this page.

Aggressive. Intrusive. Annoying. Those were some of the words people in the US used to described ads on the internet, according to a new report from eMarketer.

When asked which statement about digital ads people agreed with most, more than 40% of respondents selected that ads were too aggressive in following them around on every browser or device. The findings, published by eMarketer on Oct. 16, come from an August survey of more than 1,000 US adults conducted by Janrain, a company that builds tools to identify and authenticate users online.

A separate survey found that people say they’re seeing more ads online now than they were three years ago, and that they think ads are more intrusive. It was conducted by WPP’s Kantar Millward Brown and polled 1,000 US internet users in November 2017.

That’s a big reason why people, who understand ads are a trade off for accessing content for free, still turn to ad blockers to guarantee a more pleasant experience online. Roughly half of the nearly 39,500 ad block users surveyed by the GlobalWebIndex in 2017 said they blocked ads because too many were too annoying or irrelevant. GlobalWebIndex is a market research firm that provides audience profiling data to marketers.

No wonder an estimated 70 million US internet users are using ad blockers, according to eMarketer. Browsers like Google Chrome and extensions like Adblock Plus say they want to rid the internet of bad ads. Meanwhile, ad businesses like AT&T’s Xandr are working on ways to better target people across screen and devices.