Why Are People Using Ad Blockers? Ads Can Eat Up To 79% Of Mobile Data Allotments

from the zero-rate-this dept

By now, usage caps on both fixed and wireless networks have grown increasingly common. And while broadband carriers are endlessly looking toward caps and zero rating for a competitive and financial advantage, overlooked is the fact that a huge amount of a user's monthly bandwidth allotment is now being eroded by good old advertising. How much? According to a new study by Enders Analysis, anywhere from 18% to 79% of your monthly data bucket can go toward delivering advertising. Previous studies had pegged this between 10% and 50%.

Looking at individual page elements, between the ads and the Javascript used sometimes to deliver them, this data consumption can be substantial:
Especially if you're on a fixed-income using a limited data plan, current, bloated ads can become a real problem:
Entry-level mobile data plans start at around 500MB/month — which Enders says could be used to load the text of the King James Bible around 100 times. So "resource-hungry" advertising could clearly become a concern for some users. That's not to mention that ads can increase page-load time, Enders adds.
It's important to remember this as websites begin waging all out war on ad blockers. Users aren't just using ad blockers because they think it's fun to generate industry histrionics about the end of publishing and journalism as we know it. Users are using ad blockers to protect themselves from annoying malware and poorly-designed advertising and web formatting. They're also using ad blockers to help protect their wallet from broadband provider overage fees. Block the blockers, and you're blocking an effective consumer technology tool.

You also have to keep in mind that usage caps (especially on fixed line networks) are entirely arbitrary constructs, not tied to any real-world costs or engineering necessity. And while carriers have worked tirelessly to zero rate their own content or content from the biggest companies on the Internet, so far nobody's rushing to cut consumers a little slack and zero rate advertising at any meaningful scale. In other words, not only are consumers paying an arm and a leg for mobile data, they're paying an arm and a leg predominately so they can be marketed to.

When these consumers turned to ad blockers to reduce costs, websites like GQ, Wired, Forbes, and the New York Times decided the best course of action was to accuse these ungrateful bastards of selfishly trying to demolish online content creation. Wired was in such a rush it designed a miserable adblock blocker that's still blocking users that don't use adblockers (or in my case have whitelisted the site). It's just one more reason why adblocker blocking is a lazy "solution" to a misunderstood problem. Don't want users using ad blockers? Design better, leaner, more efficient and more intelligent ads.

Filed Under: ad blockers, ads, data caps, mobile


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  1. icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 29 Mar 2016 @ 10:19am

    The forest, it can not be seen for the trees.

    The only thing they see if a drop in revenue & quickly move to fix it. The problem is they refuse to admit that many of the advertisers they work with often serve up malware & other stupid advertising tricks. They expect the ad networks are going to self police, and wash their hands of it. They don't consider that the advertising isn't just annoying readers, it is costing them much more than the few cents they lose.

    We can't have a rational discussion because they want everything to remain the way it was. They don't want to have to change anything other than punishing those who block ads.

    They serve up bad advertising.
    They serve up malicious hacks.
    They serve up hostile code to 'protect' revenue.
    They refuse to demand better advertising.
    They are hostile to readers, and hasten their losses.

    One wonders how many of their editorial & writing staff use ad-blockers on their devices. I doubt they would ever give an honest answer, but my money is on a majority using them because they hate the crap advertising.

    The big ad network group published some guidelines, but no one is following them yet... but then created more code & guidelines how to punish or defeat ad-blocking that was demanded.

    When you declare war on your readers, you send a message. You don't care about them, and then are shocked when they go elsewhere. Rather than spending more to hack them back for blocking, why not demand better low bandwidth ads? Why not force ad networks to be responsible for bad actors who get slots in the rotation? It has to be better than just pointing at everyone else as being at fault, ignoring the 4 fingers pointing back at you.

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