'Meet the blockers': Youth, young adults and automatic ad avoidance online

Glen Joris*, Karolien Poels, Peter Mechant, Sara Pabian, Lieven De Marez

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


Ad blocking - the use of browser extensions such as Adblock (Plus) or Ublock - is becoming mainstream, particularly amongst young web users. This automated form of advertising avoidance has attracted significant attention due to the loss of advertising revenues. Insights in this type of ad avoidance behavior are indispensable. By applying the theory of planned behavior (TPB), the first aim of this study is to determine the predictive value of personal attitudes, subjective norm (SN) and perceived behavioral control (PBC) in explaining behavioral intention. The second aim is to reveal the relative importance of the beliefs underpinning these three TPB components. An online survey involving 400 person's aged between 16 and 30 years was conducted. Analysis reveals that attitude is the most important predictor to explain differences in intention to use ad blockers, followed by a person's perceived behavior control towards ad blocking. Within attitude, the most important beliefs affecting one's intention to use an ad blocker are less privacy concerns, less disruption and less data usage and costs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)320-+
Number of pages31
JournalTijdschrift voor Communicatiewetenschap
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • ad blocker
  • ad avoidance
  • online advertising
  • online behavior
  • privacy


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