Ad blocker apps have become a popular choice to smartphone and tablet users to eliminate ads that pop up on their mobile screens. Many users find ads a bit annoying, and they usually find solace in these blocker applications.
Ad blockers are being used by most mobile consumers to gain better access to a website’s content. This common issue of hidden content is being addressed by Apple, which has integrated ad blockers into the iPhone’s operating system to ensure their users and customers that they can browse the web without distractions of any form.
Testing the impact of ad blockers
Web performance monitoring company Catchpoint Systems understands the underlying benefits of ad blockers in the digital media, and has made an effort to test the impact of ad blockers on website load time. Their month-long research in May 2016 involved an analysis on the loading speeds of 20 mobile websites, composed of 5 major publishers and 15 famous brands.
The loading time of each site was tested for 15 minutes with the ad blocker activated, and another 15 minutes with the blocking app turned off. The aim of the experiment was to make an evaluation on whether ad blockers effectively reduced the load time of websites.
Based on the results as reported in this article, ad blockers seem to have some sort of effect on page loading time. A publisher’s site loaded with ads usually affects the load time, but using an ad blocker app helps by preventing the ads to load, thereby reducing the total load time.
Other interesting results
The report added that websites that carry large-sized files (say, videos and high-resolution images) are expected to have high page load times. However, with the ad blocker feature activated, the page speed improved drastically. This was the case with CNN.com, which took an average of 14.8 seconds to load the homepage. Upon turning the ad blocker on, the page load time was slashed to only 7.6 seconds, resulting to a 51.4 percent speed improvement.
The page speed assessment report further noted that web performance for the sites tested improved between 27 and 49 percent when an ad blocker app was activated. This trend held true for online news websites. “Mobile news site visitors may be more prone to engage ad blockers due to the bloated nature of mobile news pages,” according to the report.
Catchpoint Systems also tested a number of financial service websites such as Citibank and Bank of America. In contrast, these sites loaded slower with ad blocking software turned on. “While our findings show that advertising-dependent sites tend to load much faster with ad blocking engaged, there was a surprising number of sites where user experience actually got worse,” said Catchpoint Systems CEO Mehdi Daoudi. The probable reason behind this quirk is the fact that most bank sites don’t have a lot of ads on them.
Most websites really cannot do away with ads, especially if the revenue depends on these pop-ups and interstitials. However, the report seems to suggest that a proper strategy in displaying ads may be the key to balancing the thin line between fast-loading pages and high ad revenue.