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Consumers want control over ads served

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Consumers aren’t interested in ad tracking — just look at the dismal opt-in rates on Apple’s iOS 14.5 update, which explicitly asks people if they want to be tracked by advertisers. 

But they do engage with ads that appear in a privacy safe environment, according to a study released by Magna and privacy browser Brave. 

The study, released on Thursday, shows that while most people, including Gen Z and Millennials, understand the role online ads play in enabling free content on the internet, the majority feel bombarded by the ad loads (67%), and 70% feel that ad tracking is creepy. 

But that doesn’t mean people prefer to block ads completely. Of the survey’s more than 1,000 respondents, 79% preferred more control over ad blocking (73%) to completely blocking all ads. Additionally, 72% of people said online ads presented separately from web content at a convenient time were just as preferred as no ads at all.

The data shows privacy and greater consumer data control is good for marketers, not negative, despite industry wide concern over the loss of third-party cookies and mobile identifiers, said Kara Manatt, SVP of intelligence solutions at Magna. 

“Advertisers [should] lean into these types of ad environments, because more and more people are going to be opting for them,” she said. “[They want] something in the middle — not having to pay for content and blocking all ads, but also not being constantly targeted or having a huge ad load.” 

The study also evaluated ad effectiveness with five brands, including Energizer, American Express, Canada Dry, Mini and Simple Mobile, surveying more than 10,000 respondents. All five brands saw 61% to 74% engagement with their online ads when run in a Brave browser, which offers more control over ad load. 

“When we asked people what they value about online advertising experiences, privacy protected ads and the option to control ads ranked the highest, followed by the desire to have ads that use a lot less of their personal data,” said Clayton Hartford, director of sales at Brave Software. 

He added that users also want more control over which ads they see. 

According to the survey, 66% of respondents would use more ad supported websites  without paying for content if they had more control over ads, support brands they see ads from (61%), and even spend more time online (60%).

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