Ad blocking – a necessity for users and an annoyance for marketers. The debate is very much still going on, with critics and enthusiasts rallying on both sides of the barricade. Pouring more fuel on the fire is a recent New York Times report that revealed how much better off are our iPhones if ad blockers are turned on.
Plenty of websites consume data much more economically when the annoying ads are not allowed to pop up, while load times were also enormously accelerated. Even if only modestly, the smartphone’s battery life saw an increase when ads were removed.
The Times got to these conclusions after using Crystal, Purify, and 1Blocker as test apps for viewing ads on the top 50 most popular news websites accessed from an iPhone. Fun fact: most people aren’t aware that ‘ad blocking’ is a misnomer. It really should be referred to as “content blocking” since the tool used in apps is able to block various content, not just ads.
In a recent report, Fortune revealed that the iOS Crystal app, for example, would display the websites of some retailers with missing content. Users attempting to shop from Walmart, Sears, and Lululemon were prevented from adding items to their shopping carts.
Although the content blocking support has long been available for desktop Web browsers, Apple has included it in its most recent operation system. Adding ad blocking on iOS 9 is yet another targeted move in appealing to the fastest growing sector of Web browsing – mobile.
Hard data on how this type of tech affects the current business models on the Web is still lacking despite the hot debate and international conversation that has been going on for the past years. Thanks to the Times, however, that’s about to change.
According to their data, not all news websites responded the same to ad blocking. Some – like Boston.com and The Los Angeles Times – saw significant improvement in loading times and data usage. For example, the home page of Boston.com loaded in 8 seconds when ads were blocked, compared to 39 seconds.
However, other sites weren’t so quick to improve. BuzzFeed.com and MSN.com didn’t seem to care that much if ad blocking was turned on, reporting roughly the same loading times and insignificant changes in data usage.
Publishers have a valuable lesson to learn from the Times’ report, such as the importance of enabling only light-weight ads, which won’t interfere with load times or make a hole in our data usage.
Image Source: Here&Now