SOASTA Study: Americans Say Three is a Crowd

  • 85 percent of Americans say third-party features on websites or
    apps such as advertising are annoying
  • 3 out of 4 Americans would rather engage in a seemingly unpleasant
    activity, such as hang out with Kanye West and Kim Kardashian or go to
    the dentist, if it meant they wouldn’t have to see third-party features

the leader in performance analytics, today announced the findings of its
Third-Party Analytics Study, which was conducted online by Harris Poll
in August among over 2,000 U.S. adults to determine how Americans feel
about one of the biggest developments on the internet: third-party
features such as advertising, news, videos and tracking software
supplied by independent third-party vendors on websites and mobile apps,
and to demonstrate the need for new tools to make third-party resources
work better.

According to SOASTA’s study, 85 percent of Americans say third-party
features are annoying. Three out of four Americans would rather engage
in a seemingly unpleasant activity – such as going to the dentist (34
percent) or hanging out with Kanye West and Kim Kardashian (17 percent)
– if it meant they would no longer have to see third-party advertising
and resources on sites or apps they use.

Americans Find Online Ads Annoying

SOASTA revealed that the vast majority of Americans consider third-party
resources on websites or apps to be annoying. Americans say they are
most annoyed when they see third-party advertising while they are on
social networking sites (36 percent), mobile game sites/apps (34
percent), retailer sites/apps (34 percent), news sites/apps (30 percent)
and dating sites/apps (26 percent).

More than 2 in 5 Americans (42 percent) say third-party resources cause
problems like slow performance and obstructed screens that lead them to
leave a website or app.

Americans also indicated:

  • They are more likely to visit a competitor web or mobile app that has
    less annoying third-party resources (30 percent)
  • It’s important for companies to monitor the negative impact
    third-party resources have on their websites or mobile apps (29
  • Third-party resources are the most annoying new development in online
    commerce (27 percent)
  • They blame third-party resources for making a website or mobile app
    work poorly (23 percent)

“Third-party ads are the lifeline for many media and e-commerce
businesses that are struggling to stay in the black. A typical web page
today can request up to 60 percent of its resources from third-party
domains,” said Ann Sung Ruckstuhl, Chief Marketing Officer of SOASTA.
“But for most Americans, these ads, content and tracking software are
the biggest annoyance of the internet. Over 40 percent of users will
abandon a website or mobile app after just three seconds of delay.
Businesses today must make digital performance management a top priority
and use tools to proactively monitor and manage their third-party
resources and vendors to work better – and less annoyingly – to prevent
their visitors from getting fed up once and for all.”

The Dentist, Kanye and Politicians

Americans hate slow third-party ads and resources so much that 75
percent of them say they would rather endure seemingly unpleasant
activities than see them.

Among the seemingly unpleasant activities they would rather endure:

  • Going to the dentist’s office (34 percent)
  • Watching a video about Donald Trump (28 percent)
  • Watching a video about Hillary Clinton (27 percent)
  • Dressing up as Santa Claus at a children’s party (22 percent)
  • Hanging out with Kanye West and Kim Kardashian (17 percent)

Americans’ annoyance with third-party features could also influence this
year’s election season. According to SOASTA’s survey, 77 percent of
Americans say website features would negatively impact their likelihood
to vote for political candidates when visiting their campaign websites,
such as requests for personal information or donations (44% each) or if
the website is difficult to navigate (27%).

Solving the Online Ad Problem with Third-Party Resource Analytics

SOASTA released the survey data as it introduced new tools for digital
businesses to make third-party resources work better. SOASTA now
delivers next-generation performance insights for digital businesses
with the addition of Third-Party Resource Analytics from SOASTA’s
Digital Performance Management platform.

Most commercial web and mobile user experiences depend heavily on
third-party resources, creating persistent challenges in performance
management. Brands often do not know how many third-party resources are
being used and where, much less the impact of those resources on site
performance and, ultimately, user outcomes.

SOASTA Third-Party Resource Analytics addresses this challenge by
analyzing detailed information about each resource loaded on a page, the
domain that served it, the type and size of the resource, and its
performance impact on user experience and conversion. Resources served
from third-party domains are available for analysis together with or
separate from first-party domains. For more information on SOASTA’s
Third-Party Resource Analytics, visit

Survey Methodology

This survey was conducted online in the United States by Harris Poll on
behalf of SOASTA from August 19-23, 2016, among 2,100 adults. This
online survey is not based on a probability sample, and, therefore, no
estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete
survey methodology, including weighting variables, please contact Gaby


SOASTA is the leader in performance analytics. The SOASTA Digital
Performance Management (DPM) Platform enables digital business owners to
gain unprecedented and continuous performance insights into their real
user experience on mobile and web devices in real time and at scale.
With more than 100 million tests performed and more than 375 billion
user experiences measured, tested and optimized, SOASTA is the digital
performance expert trusted by industry-leading brands, including 53 of
the Top 100 internet retailers, six of the Forbes Top 10 media companies
and seven of the Forbes Top 10 tech companies, including Apple, Target,
Nordstrom, Staples, Home Depot, Sears, Walmart, Etsy, Best Buy, Adobe,
Intuit, Microsoft, DIRECTV, Netflix and CBS. SOASTA is privately held
and headquartered in Mountain View, Calif. For more information about
SOASTA, visit


Gaby Perez-Silva