• March 11, 2024

Consumers Prefer Ads to Paying for Content

Article Featured Image

A huge majority of consumers understand that the Internet is ad-supported and are willing to watch more ads in exchange for more free services, according to research from IAB, a digital media and marketing trade association.

Other findings from the consumer research include the following:

  • A significant majority (80 percent) agree that websites/apps are free because of advertising.
  • Almost 70 percent agree that it’s fair to receive ads in exchange for free services.
  • Nearly 80 percent would prefer to get more ads in turn for having to pay nothing for websites/apps.
  • Nearly all (91 percent) would react negatively, including being frustrated, disappointed, angry, confused, or sad, if they had to start paying for the websites/apps they currently use for free.
  • Almost 90 percent prefer personalized ads.
  • Eighty-seven percent are more likely to click on ads for products in which they are interested or for which they are already shopping.

“Contrary to what some believe, this research unequivocally shows that consumers are aware of the value exchange between their data and personalized content and ad experiences,” said David Cohen, CEO of the IAB. “The ad-supported internet is good for consumers, it’s good for society, and it democratizes access to information and entertainment.”

Among generations, Gen Z values the ad-supported Internet nearly twice as much as Boomers, according to the research. Overall, when asked what someone would have to pay them to stop using the Internet, consumers said they value the total internet at $38,000 a year. For Boomers, that value was $29,000 a year, while the value to Gen Z was nearly double, at $54,000 a year.

“As an industry, we need to speak together with one voice,” continued Cohen. “We need to make it clear that consumers, especially Gen Z, understand the value of the ad-supported Internet and wouldn’t want to live without it. We’re committed to giving consumers the free and open internet experiences they want while protecting their privacy.”

Further, although laws exist to protect consumers from companies sharing their data, most are unaware of them, the research also found.

While about 85 percent of consumers feel it’s important when websites and apps tell them the specific data they share, allow them to see and delete that data, and provide choices regarding the types and levels of tracking they will allow, few realize that most of those protections already exist in some form. The IAB study found that 74 percent of consumers are unaware of data privacy laws in some U.S. states, including California, Connecticut, Colorado, Virginia, and Utah, and in Europe through the General Data Protection Regulation.

Still, nearly half (49 percent) think websites and apps do not give enough information regarding how their data is used.

“The ad industry must reinforce to consumers that sharing their data is both safe and beneficial to them, including the fact that, by default, advertising is not selling consumers’ data,” Cohen said.

CRM Covers
for qualified subscribers
Subscribe Now Current Issue Past Issues

Related Articles

Consumer Opt-Outs Are Increasingly Common

Trust issues prompt consumers to unsubscribe from company outreach, Attest finds.

Sales Analytics Are Helpful but Underused

Data problems top the concerns with analytics, Gartner finds.