What lifestyle choices do ad filterers make?

What lifestyle choices do ad filterers make?

We know that American ad filterers are a highly educated bunch of people. We know they tend, on average, to be younger and more committed to be open-minded than other demographics. We even know where they like to live—like many former city-dwellers hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, they’ve moved to suburbia.

But what about the lifestyle choices that define the day-to-day for ad filterers, the 95% of users who have an ad blocker installed on their device but consent to be served respectful, unobtrusive ads? We wanted to take a look at how these users view themselves, what adjectives they choose to express their identity.

The first thing we learned was a little surprising, especially for a demographic that makes a higher-than-average income and loves to spend its hard-earned cash on any number of items both big and small.

But few (a mere 12%) of ad filterers actually refer to themselves as “affluent.”

Who Defines Affluence?

Why does the ad filtering demographic, which is so high-achieving and high earning, fail to recognize itself as affluent? The answer might just lie in psychology.

According to Business Insider, very few people who are rich…think that they’re rich. Only 13% of millionaires would refer to themselves as “wealthy,” according to BI findings. And according to Charles Schwab’s 2019 Modern Wealth Survey “on average, Americans think it takes $2.3 million in the bank to be wealthy.”

…which seems like a lot.

But this plays into something more interesting: the fact that the feeling of wealth can exist independent from money. Some respondents making less than $50,000 report feeling affluent, and some respondents making over $100,000 reported feeling poor.

A lot of this has to do with location, location, location…and how much that location costs. An annual income of $75,000 means something different in San Francisco than it does in Little Rock, Arkansas.

In San Francisco the average monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment is $2,895. In Little Rock, Arkansas the average rent for a one-bedroom apartment is $746. And the difference extends beyond just rent: in San Francisco, for example, a liter of milk costs $1.40; in Little Rock, it costs $0.92.

So location could be the root of the reason that ad filterers tend not to view themselves as affluent—since they tend to live in larger cities and the suburbs of larger cities, they might be constrained by the higher cost of living that exists within these places.

Fashion and Health

Even though we know that ad filterers spend time and money on fashion, only 1/5 of ad filterers describe themselves as “fashion conscious.” It’s unclear whether this 22.3% of ad filterers care more about the clothes that they themselves wear, of if they’re just preoccupied with trend-spotting and reading Vogue.

When it comes to health, however, things are different. Almost half of ad filterers are happy to describe themselves as “health conscious.” We think that this has to do with how health consciousness is valued in American society. Bragging about wealth and confessing to being committed to charting runway fashions isn’t always seen as a positive attribute—these are the kinds of things that people might be tempted to downplay.

But with the rise in wellness culture, more and more people are vocally interested in staying healthy. The 44.8% of ad filterers who describe themselves as health conscious are boosted by a society that prizes the virtues of health above trends…and wealth.


AAX is devoted to knowing everything there is to know about ad filterers. In one previous study we looked into what makes this demographic unique, another study examined their purchasing habits, and our most recent study dug deep into ad filterer motivation: the reasons ad filterers avoid advertisements, and how and why those reasons change. Our passion for all things ad filterer is why we’ve turned our attention to an issue that’s capturing everyone’s attention: ad filterers’ political profiles. We’ve looked through the fascinating findings over at the GlobalWebIndex (GWI) to compile a new study—American Ad Blocking Users’ Political Profile—available for free download in May 2022.

  • Data, Studies, Insights