How advertisers and publishers can navigate today’s digital advertising challenges
December 6th, 2022, Hoang Nguyen

How advertisers and publishers can navigate today’s digital advertising challenges

Privacy changes involving government regulation (e.g. GDPR), updates to features on iOS and the gradual phasing out of third-party cookies all aim to shift the power into consumers hands, giving them transparency and choice in if, when and how their personal data is stored and collected. At least that’s the theory.

In order for digital advertising to continue to fuel the internet’s economic engine, today’s marketers must reassess what types of ads still work in the expanded privacy control era and if there are new ways to engage consumers.

The situation serves as an opportunity to see what consumers view as a fair value exchange in the content they access and the advertising that funds it. According to YouGov Profiles—an audience intelligence and segmentation tool—50% of British adults agree it’s fair to watch ads in exchange for free content.

A new YouGov poll reveals that not all types of digital advertising models are equal in the eyes of consumers though. Display and banner ads in particular seem to suffer from low attention and engagement from consumers, begging the question, is there a better way?

Let’s look at a few consumer preferences for digital advertising from the poll.

Display ads are largely ignored

We asked British consumers about the ways they interact with display ads and just 6% say they click on ads that are relevant to them. Another 7% acknowledge that they notice them but that they search up what the ads are promoting on their own, without clicking them.

Banner blindness or the consumer tendency to gloss over ads displayed on a web page seems to be the biggest challenge for traditional display ads. Three-quarters (76%) of British adults say they mostly ignore these types of ads.

And while banner blindness is already a big issue, some consumers go as far as to say they’ll leave a website if they feel overwhelmed by and intruded upon by the advertising. More than half (55%) of British consumers say they will not finish what they’re reading if there are too many ads on a webpage.

An additional two in five (40%) say they will click away from what they’re reading if they see a pop-up or intrusive advert.

Cookie-based targeting becomes increasingly obsolete

YouGov’s research shows that consumers are taking action to limit their digital footprint and protect their data. These findings further compound the challenges for digital advertising that relies on third-party cookies.

Regarding how people respond to cookies disclosures, nearly a third (31%) of British consumers say they “reject all” cookies permissions when asked by a website.

What’s more, roughly two-fifths (39%) of British adults say they use an ad block extension on their web browser. Some of these ad blockers give consumers control over what they see on a web page, instructing the browser not to load tracking scripts tied to display ads.

A different approach to ad-supported content

The findings highlight the issues to be addressed in order to deliver effective digital advertising that meets the needs of both advertisers and consumers.

But consumers show a high-level of acceptance for ad-funded content if they feel they’re getting something fair in exchange.

We asked Brits who consume news online about this value exchange and half (50%) indicate they would be willing to interact with an ad to access free content.

When asked about the type of advertising experience they would prefer most as a reader, a high proportion say their main preference would be to watch or interact with a single advert before accessing the content without any other advertising interruptions (49%).

This advertising experience ranks above seeing ads throughout a webpage despite the content being free (29%) or paying a subscription fee to access unlimited ad-free content (7%).

It’s apparent from YouGov’s research that consumers are generally receptive to advertising in exchange for free content, so it appears that it‘s not digital advertising that is the issue but the placement of the ads and the method of targeting.

To aid today’s advertisers and publishers, YouGov has developed an advertising model that provides a solution to many of the issues that marketers and publishers are facing today. YouGov FreeWall provides full ad viewability by gating publishers’ content behind an advert or survey that consumers can interact with in order to access the content for free.

By offering the content consumers want at the end of each ad engagement and only collecting information they are willing to offer, FreeWall guarantees their attention while remaining a positive force in consumer privacy.

Learn more about unmissable advertising and research available through YouGov FreeWall

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