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Steps that Consumers Take to Avoid Your Ads

According to a Forrester Research market survey, U.S. consumers apparently love to hate marketer's advertising. Although anti-advertising sentiment may have stabilized, marketers cannot afford to ignore consumer distaste for irrelevant advertising.

Only 13 percent of consumers admit that they buy products because of their ads, and a paltry 6 percent believe that companies generally tell the truth in ads. Today, a majority of consumers use technologies and services that enable them to block ad content.

Forrester's study uncovered the following:

Telemarketing 'cold calls' have been silenced -- More than 107 million U.S. consumers have signed up for the National 'Do Not Call' Registry, which is both highly visible and free, making it the most widely adopted ad-blocking tactic. Marketers have no choice but to comply with the legislation. At one business services firm, the change in operating environment drove a strategic shift of direct marketing dollars, shutting down a decades old telemarketing function to ramp up its interactive marketing capabilities.

Online display ads and commercial email messages are blocked -- In two years, the percentage of consumers using pop-up blockers and spam filters has more than doubled. Now, more than half of North American households report using these technologies to avoid unwanted messages. Households with broadband are even harder to reach: 81 percent currently use these technologies. Ironically, as advertisers shift television budgets to Internet tactics like email and online advertising, their messages will not be skipped in a two-second blur -- they won't show up at all.

Traditional television ads continue to lose efficacy -- Due to the size of TV budgets, the demise of the 30-second spot has been widely discussed as more consumers adopt DVR technology. Today, 15 percent of consumers say that they use technology to skip TV ads -- more than three times as many as in 2004. This behavior will continue to spread -- Forrester projects that more than 50 percent of U.S. households will use a DVR by 2010.

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