When we see ads, our first instinct is to close them or scroll past them. Contrary to the idea that ads are unnecessary and annoying, they are essential parts of a website. Installing ad blockers may seem like the obvious and easy solution, however, there are significant reasons why you may not want to go down that path.
Before instant gratification became the norm, people had to be content with linear TV and its many ads. Advertisements are necessary because they allow a content provider to sustain its operations. Because of them, websites and technology companies like Google can continue providing free information and services to the public.
If you don’t want to see ads, you have to pay for legitimate ad-free premium services, like it’s implemented on YouTube.
Installing an ad blocker is an illegitimate process that’s similar to going to a coffee shop, drinking a cappuccino, and not paying for it.
In this article, we review why people block ads and why doing so isn’t always the best idea.
Why Do People Block Ads?
Ad blockers are either browser extensions or software plugins that filter out online advertising on a website or web application. It can target banner ads, pop-ups, interstitial ads, sticky ads, and billboards. Ad blockers also help you avoid auto-playing videos.
Alt: ad blocking usage in the US
Here are some common reasons why people use ad blockers:
Ads Are Annoying
Ads are annoying, especially when there are too many and you feel bombarded by them. Online banner ads sometimes cover part of the content you’re trying to access, while auto-playing videos can surprise us with sudden audio.
Ads Interrupt User Experience
Some people block ads because they feel that ads slow down their browsers, and it’s true in some cases. Ads with many images or those that have videos or animations will affect the site’s user experience.
Ads Are Irrelevant
Some users don’t mind ads as long as they find them interesting. To cater to this preference, some sites employ algorithmic targeting tools so that users only see ads that are relevant to them. Such tools sift and classify users based on different data that may include demographic information, behavioral patterns, and personally identifiable information. Based on this data, platforms can then use targeted ads to increase the number of ads visitors look at and the likelihood that they will make a purchase.
A lot of sites, however, display ads freely.
Is It Really Necessary to Block Advertising?
No, it isn’t. Ads are important for maintaining and financing websites. While some sites could have better advertising policies, most rely on advertisements to survive.
Some companies, especially those looking to monetize their sites with ads, will ask users to whitelist their web pages. If the user wants to support the site, they will whitelist it with the ad blocker software or extension they’re using. This means they’ll continue seeing ads but only from their whitelisted websites.
5 Reasons Not to Block Ads
Here are five reasons why you shouldn’t use an ad blocker on your PC:
1. It Hurts Creators and Developers
For the most part, online journalism and the ease with which people can create content have made newspapers and magazines obsolete. However, online content is also dependent on advertising for revenue. Ad blockers hurt this business model, creating a dysfunctional and unsustainable business environment for our favorite websites and apps.
Advertising is a major revenue source for a lot of websites. They earn when visitors engage with ads by clicking on them. If a company gets $0.10 per click, and there are roughly 100 clicks per day, the website or publisher earns $10 a day or $300 a month.
This is how websites earn money to provide quality and free content for web visitors.
2. It Can Mess With the Technical Infrastructure of a Website
Ads are part of the technical infrastructure of a website. When you mess with ads, you’re reconfiguring how you were meant to view or experience a website.
To display and monitor ad performance, websites use ad serving platforms. These ad serving platforms or ad servers allow them to manage advertisers and tracks a site’s advertising performance, and therefore, find out best-performing ad placement.
An ad blocker can do more than just block ads. It can also interfere with page scripts and prevent other web functions from performing properly.
3. Ads Can Be Useful
Ads may seem like a hard sell, but some are also helpful and informative, especially those that convey the right message. If the targeting is precise enough, there is a chance you will discover relevant goods and services by clicking on the ad.
4. Ad Blockers May Track Your Data
Some reports state that ad blockers may not be good for your privacy. Ad blockers can collect your browsing data and send it to a third party.
5. Your Favorite Website May Shut Down
Like many people’s favorite newspapers and magazines, your favorite website can also shut down if it can’t sustain its operations. No ads = no monetization = no money needed to maintain the resource.
Ads Are Part of Browsing
Ultimately, free content doesn’t exist. You may not be paying for the sites you visit, but their developers still need to find ways to make money. One of the easiest and most common ways to do that is by relying on ads.
Since ads are the lifeblood of many online resources, it makes sense to ask, “Is using an ad blocker ethical?” Some web owners and content creators believe that people who use ad blockers are stealing from them. After all, displaying advertisements is how they make money.
Many teams and individuals create content, introduce new functionalities, and improve their products and services on the condition that they can earn by displaying advertisements. An ad blocker interferes with that business model and creates an unsustainable and unrealistic environment where their efforts and time are enjoyed for free.