March 11, 2020

New Report From OpenX and The Harris Poll Highlights Reasons for Brand Marketers to Shift Spend Towards Open Web

Consumers spend more time on the open web, trust what they see and read more, and find the advertising more effective and impactful as compared to Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Amazon

March 11, 2020 — LOS ANGELES — OpenX today announced the release of the company’s latest report with global market research firm The Harris Poll, looking at consumer views towards the open web compared to walled gardens like Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Amazon. The report highlights a variety of ways consumers prefer the open web over various walled garden environments, showcasing reasons for brand marketers to shift their ad spend and focus more of their marketing onto the open web.

Despite capturing more than 60 percent of all digital ad spend, reports from comScore have found that the duopoly of Facebook and Google account for only 34 percent of consumer time spent online, and according to the new Harris Poll study, this amount of time spent will likely decrease even further in the future. Nearly a third of respondents say they use Facebook less today than a year ago, and 24 percent say they expect to decrease Facebook usage in the next 12 months. This stands in stark contrast to the open web, where significantly more people plan to increase their usage compared to those that plan to decrease.

Other findings from the report include:

  • Consumers are in a different state of mind on the open web. 58 percent of people say that when using the open web, they are “curious and in a mood to learn more,” more than twice the number that feel that way when using Facebook or Instagram. Additionally, over 25 percent of people using Facebook or Instagram say they are “zoning out and not paying attention,” more than 3X the people that say that about the open web.
  • The open web is a trusted and key source of information. 74 percent of people say they trust content they consume on open web websites more than those they read (or see links to) on Facebook, Instagram or YouTube. When looking for “high-quality” content more people say they turn to open web first than FB + Instagram + YouTube combined.
  • Ads on the open web are effective. The open web is the place where consumers report they are most likely to find relevant ads, and when asked where the most effective and impactful ads are, the open web ranked higher than Amazon, Facebook, Instagram or YouTube
  • Consumers would rather see ads than pay for content. Only 22 percent of people say they would be willing to pay to remove ads from their favorite site on the open web, and 21 percent say they would be willing to pay to remove ads from Facebook, Instagram or YouTube. On average, people would pay just $2/month to remove ads. These stats highlight the critical role that advertising will continue to have in the digital media ecosystem.

“Consumers spend more time on the open web than the walled gardens, the open web is the place they go for trusted information, it is where they start their searches when looking for information on businesses or gifts to buy, and it’s also the place where they report finding the most relevant and impactful ads,” said John Gentry, CEO of OpenX. “It’s clear that brand marketers would benefit from shifting more ad spend to the open web, but to accelerate a shift in buyer investment, marketers need a true people-based marketing solution outside of the walled gardens that enables them to reach consumers with the same ease and effectiveness those closed environments deliver.”

This survey was conducted on behalf of OpenX in January 2020 by The Harris Poll, a global market research firm based in NYC with over 50 years of history in polling. A 15-minute online survey was completed by 2,000 people aged 18 years and older in the United States. Results were weighted for age, gender, region, urbanicity, race/ethnicity, education, marital status, household income, and/or socio-economic status to be nationally representative, with a margin of error of two percent at a 95 percent confidence level.

To download the full report, visit,