There are multiple ways consumers are expressing this, from actively using ad blockers, to moving beyond “freemium” sites and content to those offering an ad-free experience with a paid subscription, or simply reducing their media consumption.
Ad blockers are being used by a substantial share of online adults in the US. Based on our 2017 wave of Technology User Profile throughout the US, 40% of Connected Adults are actively using an Ad Blocking app on at least one of their connected devices.
Ad blockers are being used across a range of user’s connected devices. The highest rate of ad blocking is on PCs, followed by Smartphones, and then Tablets.
The Ad Blocking rate is even higher among the most-active news readers. This rejection doesn’t bode well for ad-supported business models, such as that of many media outlets.
Digital consumers continue to value an ad-free experience, whether for news, music, or video content. Consumers enjoy convenience and continue to respond to offers marketed as free. Although these hopes and preferences may persist, what matters more than wishes are what consumers do. Action matters more than opinion, just as behavior carries more weight than intention or preference. Seeing that so many consumers, especially such highly-engaged ones, continue to take the extra step to actively block ads continues to send the messages to advertisers as well as news outlets.
Meanwhile, many media outlets have gotten the message and moved their ad-free experiences behind paywalls. Others encourage freemium customers to at least whitelist their publications. To the extent consumers lower their defenses, this may reduce the value consumers place on being ad-free. In turn, this may encourage more consumers to return to being active readers.
This post includes a complimentary brief summary of recent MetaFacts TUP (Technology User Profile) research results. These results are based on results of the MetaFacts Technology User Profile survey, from TUP 2017, its 35th consecutive wave, as well as previous waves. Comparable results are available through TUP fielded in Europe and Asia. For more information about MetaFacts and subscribing to TUP, please contact MetaFacts.
Getting things done. Isn’t it one of the main explanations we offer when we’re buying our tech devices?
While much of actual tech device usage is about entertainment, communication, and shopping, productivity has its solid place in everyday use.
Whether using a PC, Smartphone, Tablet, or some combination, the majority of connected adults turn to their devices for everything from scheduling appointments to calling on a voice assistant. Based on our Technology User Profile 2017 US survey wave, 88% of Connected Adults regularly use one of their connected devices for any of a range of productivity activities.
Mobility is the Key to Productivity Activities
Having one’s device handy is key for the productivity-oriented. The majority of productivity activities are regularly done using a mobile device – a Notebook, Tablet, or Mobile Phone. This focus on mobility has remained relatively constant over the last few years, representing over two-thirds of the primary productivity devices.
PCs as Dominant Device Type for Productivity
Americans use a PC of some kind for most of their productivity activities. This majority position has withered over the last two years, declining slightly from 54% and 55% of adults to the 51% mark in 2017.
During that same time period, more adults have made the switch from Basic cell phones to Smartphones. This has helped Mobile Phones to increase their share as the favored productivity device, rising to second-place with 41% of adults.
Smartphone surpass Desktops as preference for productivity
Diving more deeply into the TUP data, and looking at connected devices in a more detailed view, Smartphones emerge as the major productivity device. Even looking at Desktops versus Smartphones by combining Tower Desktops with All-in-One Desktops, the year 2017 marks the first time that Smartphones outnumber Desktops as the preferred Productivity device. In 2016, TUP showed that 37% of the primary productivity devices are Desktops to 34% for Smartphones. In 2017, this shifted to 33% Desktops and 39% Smartphones.
Voice Assistants, such as Apple’s Siri, are one of the major productivity activities which have grown in usage, especially on Smartphones. For those users who primarily use a Smartphone for most of their productivity, 57% use a Voice Assistant at least monthly, a level which is 44% higher than the national average. They’re also 30% or more higher than average to be using their Smartphone to manage tasks/to-do items, their personal or work calendar, store their contacts, and to save and play voice memos.
Notebooks, on the other hand, are making a gradual retreat as the productivity device of choice. These still stand out, however, for being above average for certain activities among those who favor their notebooks for productivity. Several productivity activities which are done on notebooks at 25% or more above average: collaborating on work or personal files, finances/accounting, write/manage text/notes/documents, download/use/update anti-virus/security software, and ad blocking software. Yes, the productivity-oriented are more likely than average to block ads and get back to work.
For productivity-primary desktop PCs, however, only two productivity activities stand out above average in their regular use: download/use/update anti-virus/security software, and ad blocking software. Although these two activities do reduce interruptions, they aren’t particularly productive. This indicates that Desktops are likely to continue their slide from primacy for productivity. They’ll either be consigned to other types of activities, or be overtaken by notebooks or tablets.
Although habits change slowly, they do change. Even as users move between multiple devices, it takes time for them to migrate their behaviors from one way of doing things to another. Apps that have versions that support platforms can ease the user’s migration between devices. By simultaneously supporting multiple platforms, app makes can also make it easier for users to get things done among their own collection of devices, further supporting user’s own choices.
About this TUPdate
This TUPdate includes a complimentary brief summary of recent MetaFacts TUP (Technology User Profile) research results. These results are based on results of the MetaFacts Technology User Profile survey, from 2015 through 2017, its 35th consecutive wave. Comparable results are available through TUP fielded in Europe and Asia. For more information about MetaFacts and subscribing to TUP, please contact MetaFacts.
Current TUP subscribers may request the supporting TUP information used for this analysis or for even deeper analysis.
Digital Music Listening – by Dan Ness
Pleasure or pain? Attraction or avoidance? These are some tradeoffs consumers make as they choose how to use their tech devices and services, and music is a major part.
Consumers love music and have more listening options and platforms than ever. The evolution of digital music listening continues to transform the recording, advertising, and tech industries, and the changes aren’t over. At this point, the net effect is a larger than ever base of active music fans and listeners, and one that is engaged in discovering both the new and old. Many consumers are also being trained that advertising is something they can pay to avoid – whether for their music, TV, or news.
Music streaming services such as Apple Music, Pandora, and Spotify have disrupted influence, control, and the flow of royalties and fees between listeners and artists. At the same time, the total audience had broadened beyond few passionate fans, and younger generations are discovering both classic and new artists. There’s new life in the long tail of older and obscure recorded music.
Accessibility and ease of use has substantially increased the base of music listeners. This has beneficial long-term effects for both the music and tech industries, and perhaps less so for advertising.
Digital music listening is widespread – being a regular activity of three quarters (76%) of connected adults, whether through portable MP3 players, music services, players on Smartphones, PCs, or Tablets, or often across more than one of these.
Half of connected adults listen to music locally downloaded to their PC, Tablet, or Smartphone. A larger number – 57% – listen to music through a free or paid streaming service. Free service users outnumber those paying by 66%. More consumers are signing up for paid services as these services experiment with additional features and family plans. Avoiding advertisements is one reason listeners choose the paid plans. Use of Ad-Blocking software by listeners to streaming music services is 20% to 40% higher than average, with Smartphone ad blocking rates relatively stronger among listeners.
Listening levels varies by device type. Smartphones outnumber PCs and Tablets in the number of active listeners, and has also surpassed portable MP3 players, which are being actively used by 27% of Connected Adults. Al though music-listening apps are simple enough to add to Smartphones, many listeners still prefer a separate device that is tuned to one task – mobile music listening.
Digital music listening is skewed towards younger adults, while a few older adults cling to their turntables to play vinyl albums. Although Millennials (age 18-35) make up 39% of Connected Adults, they are nearly half (49%) of those listening to music on their connected devices, through streaming services, or using digital music players.
Apple’s iTunes and iPod market entry fifteen years ago is still paying dividends for Apple, with Apple notebook users being 22% more likely than average to be listening through a connected device or standalone player, and 30% more likely than average to be using a music service.
Otherwise, music listeners don’t favor one type of connected device over any other for their other non-musical entertainment activities. Fun is big across their collection of Smartphones, Tablets, and PCs. Instead, entertainment is important in all that they use. Music listeners are 32% more likely than average to be using the broadest number of entertainment activities.
Household technology spending is somewhat higher among music listeners. Annual spending for digital music listeners is 11% higher than among average connected adults. However, spending on digital content is much higher than average. Those who use music services spend 40% more than average consumers on digital content such as music and eBooks.
Looking ahead, we expect continued widespread music listening. Consumer habits change slower than their dances between services and platforms. Most future growth will come from within the current base as they spread their usage across their devices and move to paid plans. Less growth will come from first-time listeners. Also, we expect further market disruption for pure music services and advertisers. Social networks will likely seek ways to further leverage their many interconnected users and more deeply integrate music sharing into their services. The growing anti-advertisement sentiment may continue as consumers continue to see value in spending a few nickels to avoid what they see as disturbances to their musical reveries.
About this TUPdate
This TUPdate includes a complimentary brief summary of recent MetaFacts TUP (Technology User Profile) research results. These results are based on the most-recent results of the MetaFacts Technology User Profile 2016 survey, its 34th wave, with 7,334 respondents (US). Trend information is based on prior waves. For more information about MetaFacts and subscribing to TUP, please contact MetaFacts.
Current TUP subscribers can tap into any of the following TUP information used for this analysis or for even deeper analysis.
The TUP 2016 Wearables, Hearables, Listening, and Speaking Chapter details music listening devices, services, and activities, wearables and other key analysis points. The TUP 2016 Consumer Electronics Chapter drills down into a comprehensive collection of devices and services in active use.
This week, Facebook announced their plans to defeat Ad Blocking software for its members using Desktops.
Users vote with their fingertips and clicks, and may allow themselves to be herded towards Facebook’s more-lucrative Smartphone platform, will tolerate more ads they’ve actively chosen to avoid, will migrate to other Social Networks, or may simply lose interest and wither away.
Is Facebook’s gamble really going to affect much of a market? How many Facebook users still use their desktops? How attractive are these users? There’s more to these users than many people might think.
In our most recently publicly-released research, Technology User Profile 2015, we reported that nearly as many Facebook users primarily use their PCs as their Smartphones for Social Networking. Over 67 million American adults primarily use their PCs for Facebook Social Networking, outnumbering the 63 million who primarily use their Smartphones.
Furthermore, Facebook users who use their Desktop PCs spend more on technology products and service than the average American Connected Adult, 5% more, which is slightly higher than the 4% more than those users preferring Smartphones for Social Networking.
Ad Blocking on PCs among those primarily using PCs for Social Networking is much higher than among those blocking ads on their Smartphones and using Smartphones for Social Networking, at 33% and 13%, respectively. However, that camel’s nose is well under the tent, as users that block ads on any of their devices is nearly on par among Facebook’s PC and Smartphone users. Forty-one percent of Facebook’s users who primarily use a PC use an Ad Blocker on at least one of their devices, only slightly more than the 37% of Facebook’s users who primarily use their Smartphone for Social Networking.
Ad Blocking is a controversial topic among users, the media, and advertisers. As we reported earlier in our TUPdate Look Who’s Using Adblockers , users with ad blocking software are an attractive market segment, spending more on technology than those who don’t.
As part of Facebook’s move, they offer users the option to customize their ad preferences. Although this may encourage users to further control their experience, we expect that convenience-oriented users will choose other options first.
At the end of the day, users make their choices. Without engaged active users, no social network is going to continue. Although many media outlets and advertisers will rally around Facebook or anyone willing to take on ad blocking technology or user’s resistance to advertising, it is a calculated gamble. Facebook may win more advertisers and allies, may alienate a substantial number of their users, or may help bring around consumer sentiment to accept more advertising.
This TUPdate includes a complimentary brief summary from a special MetaFacts Profile report – Look Who’s Using AdBlockers – a Profile of Technology Users throughout the US, UK, France, Brazil, and China. The results are based on a multi-country survey of over 10,000 representative respondents conducted by MetaFacts. The report spans 125 pages including supporting tables, and is available for license. Current TUP subscribers can obtain the report and supporting datasets at a substantial discount. To license the full report, contact MetaFacts.
Look Who’s Using Adblockers – A Profile of Technology Users throughout the US, UK, France, Brazil, and China
Stop the ads!
So say a substantial number of tech users. A high percentage are actively using adblockers. More chillingly to advertisers, the users blocking ads are affluent, big spenders, younger, active shoppers, and skew in many other ways towards the most-desirable segments.
In our most recent wave of the MetaFacts Technology User Profile survey, we found that in the US, UK, and France, nearly one-in-three connected adults use an adblocker on at least one of their tech devices. Adblocking is much higher in China and Brazil, at 49% and 58%, respectively.