Think ‘ad avoidance’ and in the current climate you might think ad blocking, but a new study by mobile ad network BuzzCity has revealed the evasive behaviour is prevalent on both digital and traditional channels.

Issued in the wake of Apple’s move to allow ad blocking on its Safari mobile browser, the survey reeled in over 3000 participants across 17 countries to investigate levels of consumer trust and avoidance methods, looking into where ads are being consumed and which formats are proving unpopular.

Topping the list of tactics for ad avoidance with 30% is channel-hopping on the TV or radio, just ahead of the 28% that claimed to be paying to avoid ads by subscribing to paid TV and on-demand services.

Following in third, browser extensions for blocking pop-ups were used by 26%, while the same number again claimed to employ heavyweight ad-blocking software.

The report also found that 22% of mobile surfers use more than one ad avoidance technique, and nearly a quarter (24%) reported discarding direct mail.

Striking a balance

While internet (27%), online video (23%) and TV (23%) score as the most influential forms of advertising, they also rank as the three most invasive among consumers.

Thus, advertisers are having to execute campaigns on these channels ‘correctly’ in order to strike the balance between being invasive and actionable.

Commenting on the findings of the survey, BuzzCity founder and CEO, Dr. KF Lai, said consumers are living in an age of ubiquitous advertising and are responding by filtering out what they want to see, hear and listen to.

“Ad avoidance is not a new phenomenon. However, with a more discerning consumer, brands and agencies need to respond to it and treat their audiences as individuals, targeting ads more carefully,” adds Lai.  

Overall the survey is positive for digital, with 67% of users citing internet ads as the formats they’re “most likely” to take note of – the number also remaining high for mobile (42%).

Comparatively, magazine and radio ads fall behind at 21% and 20% respectively.