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The User Experience or the Ad Revenue? You Make the Choice

Updated: Mar 12

Ad Blockers and the User Experience Series Part I



Turning off your ad blocker removes the filter between you and the website. Do you want everything they throw at you? Each website publisher asked themselves long ago: What’s more important, the user experience or the ad revenue? You make the choice.


People’s web surfing habits mirror their driving habits. Some live on the edge, others are careful, and some don’t know what they’re doing. The ad blocker is your eyes, ears, and seatbelt. But, like common sense, no one can force you to use it.


The User Experience or the Ad Revenue?


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I get it. Websites providing news and entertainment need to support themselves. Whether by subscription or advertising, bills must be paid. Editors, freelancers, Photoshop and AI subscriptions don’t come cheap. 


If one publication doesn’t provide a photo of a Kardashian, a cliche from a football coach, or new details of Trump’s latest transgression, you, the user, are out of luck. Now, you must move your finger and click one of the thousand other sources providing the same news.


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Subscription-based websites come right out and tell you to pay for their content. They are more prevalent than they used to be but take the high road between the user experience and the ad revenue.


Newspapers and magazines have been requiring subscriptions for years. Most used to be free, but print advertising revenues aren’t the revenue driver they once were. 


“For news brands and magazines, modest increases in digital ad revenue have been insufficient to compensate for print ad income losses,” says Alex Brownsell, head of content at WARC Media.


“While Meta is launching a paid verification service reducing its reliance on ad revenues,  content-creating media owners have not given up on the ad market. Netflix and Spotify are just two platforms to see high margin advertising as a means of achieving profitability and mitigating any softness in the subscription economy as consumers negotiate cost of living pressures.”


The User Experience or the Ad Revenue? You Make the Choice

How Do Ad Blockers Work?


Madeleine White of business consulting company Poool looks deeper into ad blockers while cautioning that they can also block subscription requests.


“As a general definition, ad blockers are an anti-advertising software, often in the form of a browser extension, that can suppress the display of advertising and limit tracking,” she writes. “They do this by limiting the number of scripts that can be triggered on a website. For publishers, this means they can’t collect the quality data needed to measure site traffic (Analytics/GTM)... or protect premium content.”


Aurelija Tomkeviciute of Cybernews explains, “Many ad blockers and similar tools have pre-defined rules, filter lists, and/or user-defined criteria for which ads (or what kind of content) to exclude. An ad blocker will compare the requests from your browser with the filtering rules, and if any of the requests are ads, it will simply prevent them from being loaded or displayed. In place of ads, an ad blocker may display a placeholder or will leave an empty space.”


In Part II I'll explore Google's ad blocker, your instinctual ad blocker, and how ads affect a website's credibility. Most of you decide that for yourselves all day long by leaving websites like jumping out of the way of a snake. Your first instincts are usually accurate.

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End of Part I


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