MARCO ISLAND, FL — After a few years in which the rise of ad blockers and subscription content reframed advertising as intrusive, the digital ad industry’s umbrella body is coming out batting for the ad-supported internet.

The IAB just released The Free and Open Ad-Supported Internet: Consumers, Content, and Assessing the Data Value Exchange, a research piece which surveyed over 1,500 consumers.

In this video interview with Beet.TV, Chris Bruderle, VP, Industry Insights & Content Strategy, IAB, runs through the findings.

Increase Understanding of Ads’ Importance

When it comes to Gen Z, Bruderle articulates a distinct separation in attitudes. “Only 62% of Gen Z understand that the internet is free and open because of advertising,” as opposed to 90% of Boomers and Gen Xers.

This lack of understanding about the economic exchange that enables free access to content suggests that younger generations might find advertising more disruptive.

“We as an industry need to educate them,” Bruderle asserts, hinting at future challenges for advertisers in engaging this demographic.

Bruderle calls for a clearer communication to consumers about the value exchange of data for personalized services. “It should be, ‘Hey, we’re about to track. Is it okay if we track what you’re doing on this website so we can make that experience way better for you?'”

By making this exchange transparent, Bruderle believes it can be a “win-win” for both consumers and the industry.

The Ad-Supported Internet as a Pillar of Democracy

“The free and open ad-supported internet is important to democracy and free speech,” Bruderle adds.

The research disclosed that a staggering 80% view the ad-supported internet as crucial to democracy, especially during an election year where much of the public turns to online resources to educate themselves on politics.

Bruderle points to another significant finding: “95% of consumers would rather receive advertising than pay a high fee to access sites that are currently free.”

This sentiment underscores the acceptance of advertising as a necessary element that powers the internet, enabling consumers to access content without financial barriers, he argues.

You’re watching ‘Digital Media in Transition’, a Beet.TV Leadership Series at IAB ALM 2024 presented by Sharethrough. For more videos from this series, please visit this page.