Internet users refuse to put up with intrusive ads

LONDON - As many as 73% of web users have left a favourite website because of intrusive or annoying ads, according to research, with gambling and financial service ads coming off the worst.

The research reveals the extent of resistance to badly targeted online advertising, particularly among younger consumers.

The independent research, conducted by Opinion Matters for showed that the figure rose to 84% among 25-34 year olds -- an increase of over 20% on the 2007 findings.

In addition, as many as 59% of web users have stopped visiting a website because of intrusive or irrelevant advertising, rising to 70% for 25-34 year olds -- a large increase on the 2007 figures of 16% and 14% respectively.

The survey cited gambling sites, financial services companies, car companies, household goods, and beauty brands as some of the worst offenders.

Ads from, Dulux, Ford, Garnier, Halifax and L'Oreal were mentioned as annoying or intrusive.

Bugbears included ads with loud noises, pop-ups covering web content, and ads that were difficult to close, minimise or click away from.

Peter Mitchell, the chief executive of WWAV Rapp Collins Media Group, said: "This research highlights the need to apply a customer-centric approach to online advertising and should be welcomed by agencies and brands alike.

"The industry must re-examine what the web does best and create content that is relevant and entertaining, and that plays to consumer interests."

On a more positive note, the research found that younger consumers are actively engaging with online video content, with 83% of 25-34 years old and 74% of 16-24 year olds stating they have watched an online video, compared to a national average of 70%.

When asked what would be the effect of a video ad on their favourite website, 56% of 16-24 year olds and 44% of 25-34 year olds said it would make them more likely to purchase the brand, compared to 38% of 35-44 year olds and 29% of 45-54 year olds.

Russell Goldsmith, the co-founder and digital director of, which specialises in producing brand-funded online videos, said the survey highlighted the urgent need for brands and media owners to re-think traditional approaches to online advertising.

He said: "The difference in behaviour between younger and older web users is testament that the mass audience model is a strategy that doesn't necessarily work in the online environment, and is one that risks alienating web users and negatively impacting on propensity to purchase."

The survey was carried out among 1,046 adults aged 16+.