InsightsOne Study: Americans are Fed Up with Bad Ads

44% of Americans won't put up with more than three spam emails or online ads before they ignore a company completely; 83% report irrelevant ads are getting in the way of activities such as Working (20%), Sex (19%) and Sleeping (13%)

Apr 11, 2013, 14:18 ET from InsightsOne

SANTA CLARA, Calif., April 11, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- InsightsOne, a pioneer in consumer predictive intelligence solutions enabled by big data, today announced the findings of its 2013 Bad Ads Survey conducted online by Harris Interactive on its behalf from February 27-March 1, 2013 among over 2,100 American adults aged 18 and older.  The survey, which was aimed at determining American attitudes and behavior around the ads they see every day, found that fully 87% are now putting their foot down on the number of irrelevant ads they are willing to see before they ignore a company completely.  Almost a quarter (23%) of Americans say they will do so after seeing just one spam email or online ad, and 43% say they will ignore a company completely after seeing as many as two.


And annoying ads are pervasive, with 91% of Americans reporting they see them.  While email spam and junk mail tend to get the most attention, it was surprising to discover that almost as many Americans are annoyed by website ad spam (52%) as are annoyed by email spam/sidebar ads (55%). Postal junk mail (37%) actually ranked fifth, behind television ads (60%), email spam/sidebar ads, website ads and ads on social media (37%).

The results may create challenges for ecommerce companies that advertise and sell over the web. In fact, 88% of Americans say they have even been "flooded" with online ad spam, and 91% of those say they take action when it occurs.  36% of those who have ever been flooded with online ad spam say they would leave a website because of too many irrelevant ads, and many more would begin to feel that the company doing the advertising doesn't respect their time (26%).  For email, 60% will unsubscribe from future messages, but a surprising 45% will simply ignore future communications.

In some of the more extreme cases, Americans who are flooded with online ad spam say they would:

  • Stop using the product advertised – 14%
  • Completely boycott the company doing the advertising – 13%
  • Tell their friends – 9%
  • Respond angrily – 5%; and even
  • Hit their computer or mobile device in frustration – 4%

Men were statistically more likely than women to take certain actions, including stop using the product (17% vs. 11%), completely boycott the company doing the advertising (16% vs. 10%), respond angrily (7% vs. 3%), hit their computer or mobile device in frustration (5% vs. 3%) and especially feel the company doesn't respect their time (30% vs. 22%).  

"The American people are tired of companies that appear to not respect or understand their needs," said Waqar Hasan, CEO of InsightsOne. "The results of the study show that consumers have a real limit on what they're willing to put up with, and this very real problem will have a negative impact on a company's income statement if they don't do something about it."

The study looked at where the biggest problems are, and what ads people find more annoying. Overall, more Americans get annoyed by irrelevant pop-up ads and lottery scams (both 70%) than get annoyed by:

  • Male enhancement ads – 66%
  • Emails from deceased African leaders who have left them money – 64%
  • Ads for products and services they do not need – 58%
  • Female enhancement ads – 54%

Women were more likely than men to be annoyed at both male and also female enhancements ads (71% vs. 61% and 63% vs. 44%, respectively)

A great number of people (83%) also report that irrelevant advertisements are actually getting in the way of their activities, such as web surfing (51%), and in another bad sign for ecommerce vendors:  online shopping (37%), further demonstrating that when ecommerce sites fail to treat customers as unique individuals and anticipate their needs, they may be damaging their reputation and losing out on extra sales.

20% also report that irrelevant ads get in the way of working, and surprising percentages believe that irrelevant ads have now started to even get in the way of having sex (19%) and sleeping (13%).

"While the results of the study may seem amusing, they point to a real concern in American life," said Waqar Hasan, CEO of InsightsOne. "People are fed up with seeing ads and other communications that aren't relevant to them as individuals."

About InsightsOne

InsightsOne offers on-premise and cloud-based consumer predictive intelligence solutions allowing businesses to form more conscientious connections with consumers and to make all business to consumer interactions relevant and profitable. InsightsOne Hadoop based big data solutions leverage a break-through platform that delivers real-time petabyte-scale predictive analytics. By exploiting the power of big data, we help our customers generate new opportunities, foster lasting customer relationships, and achieve unprecedented revenue. For more information, visit us at or follow us @insightsone.

Survey Methodology

This survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Interactive on behalf of InsightsOne from February 27-March 1, 2013 among 2,111 adults ages 18 and older. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables, please contact Tom Carpenter.

Media Contact

Tom Carpenter
Director, Grayling
Phone: 415.442.4018

SOURCE InsightsOne