2023 Year in Review

Consumer opinion is at the core of everything the Coalition for Better Ads does. It had been a while since we re-baselined our understanding of consumer opinion on digital ad experiences. So in 2023 we fielded quantitative and qualitative studies to understand:

  • Consumer understanding and appreciation of the role advertising plays in the online ecosystem
  • Consumer attitudes towards online ads
  • Reasons that consumers choose to download and use ad blockers
  • How consumers use ad blockers
  • What would prompt consumers to uninstall their ad blocker, disable it, or allowlist a specific domain

The good news for the industry is that consumers largely understand and appreciate the crucial role that advertising plays in the digital economy. Attitudes towards online advertising are largely positive, especially among younger, more tech-savvy consumers who have grown up in an online world.

The research finds that the most cited reason for ad blocker usage is consumer frustration with annoying and disruptive ad experiences, reinforcing the important role that the Coalition and our Better Ads Standards play in addressing the issue. In the study, ad blocker users cited four categories of factors as reasons for adopting ad blockers, listed below:

  • Ad Experience — frustration with annoying/interruptive ads, ads following me around, and irrelevant ads
  • Device Security — concern over ad-delivered viruses and malware
  • Anonymity — a desire to mask identity and avoid personalized ads
  • Device Performance — a way to boost browsing speed, conserve data, and increase battery life


For annoying ad experiences in particular, while we believe they represent a small subset of the ad experiences today, our research has shown that consumers become motivated to install an ad blocker after ongoing and repeated exposure to these experiences.


Be on the lookout for a series of posts diving deeper into these insights over the course of 2024.


What’s Next

The research insights inform the CBA’s priorities for 2024 and can also help trade bodies and individual companies build stronger relationships between consumers, ad supported publishers/platforms, and the digital advertising ecosystem that support them both.

Accordingly, the CBA plans to focus on two primary initiatives in 2024.

  1. Updating Desktop and Mobile Web Research to cover new ad experiences, including:
    1. Exit Intent Ads
    2. SmartFrame Ads
    3. Sticky Ads
    4. In-feed Ads
    5. Animated Ads
    6. Ad Density
  2. Developing best practices for leveraging the Better Ads Standard to build trust with consumers: As a supplement to the Better Ads Experience Program, the CBA intends to create a best practices document suggesting how publishers, trade bodies, and others in the industry can best communicate with consumers about their commitment to Better Ads. This best practices document will include information on the benefits of hard and soft walls, how to optimize messaging to consumers in those walls, and how to use the CBA Better Ads Experience Program seal as part of those communications to signal to consumers that the underlying ad experiences align with the Better Ads Standards.