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Have Americans had enough of online ads?

Sep 23, 2020 · 3 min read

Have Americans had enough of online ads?

Internet users in the US are taking control of their personal privacy in greater numbers than ever before. Many Americans are using ad blockers, along with a range of other tools and techniques, to regain online autonomy and privacy.

What are the benefits of rejecting online ads? And is this really the start of a larger cultural shift?

The numbers don’t lie

Search trends indicate that 29% of all global search traffic related to the words “ad blocker” originates in the US. Furthermore, statistics suggest that almost 26% of American internet users now employ some form of an ad blocking software.

Limiting your exposure to internet advertising makes a lot of sense. Ad blockers offer a range of benefits:

  • A cleaner interface: Removing ads from any webpage usually makes it look simpler and less crowded. With ad block enabled, you don’t have to deal with pop-ups and eye-catching banners.
  • Faster loading speeds: Loading page elements can often take longer when multiple ads are being rendered at the same time. If a page is slow to respond, it might be because the site is trying to run large video elements in their adverts.
  • Protection against malware: Malicious adverts can install viruses on your device or redirect you to infectious websites. Cybercriminals are experts at coding apparently innocent ads and pop-ups to deliver malware. An ad blocker considerably lowers the risks of these infections.

Ad blocking: the bigger picture

For more than a decade, Facebook, Google, and other online giants have been harvesting and monetizing the data of their users. The process was framed as a necessary transaction for anyone wishing to enjoy the benefits of the internet.

But perhaps you’re no longer willing to passively accept the internet on the terms laid down by businesses and tech giants. Maybe you want to reshape your online experience, taking back some of the power from ad-driven corporations.

According to our study, consumers across the US are developing a more nuanced understanding of personal data use. And it turns out that, the more you know, the more likely you are to break away from the cycle of data gathering and ad targeting.

What steps can you take to control your data?

Beyond using an ad blocker, there are several simple steps that you can take today to regain your online autonomy.

    1. Don't rely on default settings.
    2. When you create an account through a platform like Google or Instagram, you can change many of the default settings. Take time to familiarize yourself with the privacy variables on any site you regularly use and adjust them to fit your needs. This could range from limiting data collection to switching off targeted ads altogether.

    3. Use your adblocker in the way that works for you.
    4. Ad blockers are not an all-or-nothing solution. Most services will let you toggle blocking on and off with a browser add-on. Many also allow you to whitelist sites you want to support, so you'll still see ads on select platforms. From YouTube creators to trusted news sources, there are plenty of legitimate platforms in need of ad revenue.

    5. Take your privacy into your own hands.
    6. Don’t assume that companies will take care of your data. Breaches are more common than most people realize. Even if a corporation promises to protect your data, you can still take your own steps towards security. For a start, avoid using the same login for multiple sites and consider starting a separate bank account for online transactions. Use a password manager to supercharge your security.

    7. Use a VPN.
    8. Even if you’re blocking adverts, your internet service provider (ISP) can still gather your information and sell it. To combat this, use NordVPN to protect your browsing activity and ensure that your ISP can't monitor you. With a VPN, you’ll be able to maintain a secure connection even on risky public Wi-Fi, as well as circumvent geographical restrictions. Take control of your data today with NordVPN.

      Furthermor, NordVPN has a feature called CyberSec. When you enable it, it will help block malicious content from your online experience, including from ads.

NordVPN won't just ensure your online security and privacy – it'll help protect you from annoying and malicious ads, too.


Malcolm Higgins
Malcolm Higgins successVerified author

Malcolm is a content writer specializing in cybersecurity and tech news. With a background in journalism and a passion for digital privacy, he hopes his work will empower people to control their own data.


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