Many US consumers understand that free online publications are supported by advertising and would consider filtering rather than completely block ads, according to a new study by YouGov and Eyeo. 

YouGov polled 2,568 US online users in April of 2019 on behalf of Adblock Plus parent company Eyeo. Of these participants, 1,382 (54 percent) registered as having ad-blocking software installed on their digital devices. Just over half of the users that employed ad blockers did so to block “invasive or excessive forms” of advertising, YouGov found.

Free Content: Not Necessarily Free Reign For Ads

Out of all the survey participants, 71 percent acknowledged that publishers rely on advertising to keep their content free. YouGov asked users how likely they would be to turn off ad blockers if websites put up a banner asking them to. Only 11 percent said they were “very likely” to do so, compared to 53 percent that refused.

YouGov cited a recent study by PageFair that yielded similar results—74 percent of US ad-blocking users would rather leave a website when presented with an “ad blocker wall.”

Turning Off Ad Blockers: A Major Turn Off

Just because some consumers are willing to turn off ad blockers to enjoy your site doesn’t give you permission to do it for them, the study found. If consumers found out that a website was disabling their ad blocking software automatically, 83 percent said they would be “annoyed” and 61 percent said they would not return.

These findings were in line with a January 2019 study by YouGov in Britain, in which 78 percent of ad-blocking users would not return to the site, either.

Everything In Moderation

Online users were less worried about ads than they were a lack of control over them, the study suggests. Sixty percent of ad-blocking users said they would likely turn off their ad blocking tools if they could be sure of an “ad-light experience.”

Ad-blocking technology is often viewed as an “all or nothing” solution, but 60 percent of respondents did not realize that some software can filter, too. That being said, 57 percent of all survey participants said they would “happily” filter ads as opposed to total blocking.

This doesn’t mean that publishers will be let off the hook when it comes to delivering ads to consumers. A majority of all US online users surveyed (83 percent) stressed the importance of publisher transparency regarding advertising policies.

“It used to be all about blocking ads and telling advertisers how nasty those pop-up and annoying ads are, but the savvy ad-blocking user base is now very aware of the balance between ad filtering and allowing publishers to make a living from ads that have, for the most part, improved by leaps and bounds in the past 3-4 years,” said Ben Williams, director of advocacy at Eyeo in a release. “Now, it’s all about finding a sustainable internet for everyone.”