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How Much Advertising Is Too Much?

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This is something I’ve thought about before, but I was inspired to write this post after I happened to be looking at the blog of someone I follow on Instagram, but not in the blogging world. This person had a shit-ton of ads, to the point that it was a major turn-off, which got me wondering, how much advertising is too much?

This person has their ads managed by Mediavine. Opening a post on their site, there was a banner ad at the bottom of the screen and a signup banner for their email list at the top of the screen. In the post itself, there were 17 ads, as well as plugs for 2 different affiliate programs and 2 more email signups. It was hard to find the content amidst all that advertising and promotion. For me, that’s way too much; I would not read a blog with that much advertising.

At the opposite extreme, I know people who pay for the WordPress Personal plan specifically so ads won’t show up on their sites.

I don’t mind some advertising on blogs; I think it’s a very valid way for bloggers to try to earn income, and I think the amount of advertising that WordPress displays on free blogs is reasonable. I just don’t want it to interfere with my reading experience. If a page takes ages to load or if things start freezing or crashing because of ad overload, that’s a problem.

I’m not sure about Mediavine, but I know Google AdSense gives website owners full control over how many ad placements are on a page and where they go. For people who are using choosing to use WordAds (WordPress’s ad program) to monetize their site, I believe site owners have less control over where ads go compared to AdSense.

I suspect people choose to pile on the ads because it’s very hard to make much money with them unless you get massive traffic. When I ran ads on my site using Google AdSense, I made about $20 over 6 months with a single ad placement allowed per page (although I never actually saw that money because it wasn’t enough to meet the payout threshold).

The problem with piling on the ads is that once you verge into ad territory that people perceive as “too much,” you probably risk losing readers specifically because they’re turned off by the ads. I suspect that big commercial sites do testing to see how much advertising results in dropping revenue, but I also suspect that most bloggers are kind of winging it.

I get particularly annoyed with video ads or ads that are otherwise moving around, as that’s distracting when I’m trying to read, and my concentration is bad enough as it is. I prefer ads on the sidebar or at the end end of posts rather than in the middle of the text.

I also really dislike exit intent popups, although these alway seem to be self-promotional rather than third party ads. These are popups that show up as you’re moving your mouse to exit a page. I find them creepy.

Okay, now over to you. What level of advertising do you find to be too much, and are there particular types that bother you more than others?

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57 thoughts on “How Much Advertising Is Too Much?”

  1. I was recently reading a blog where there was an ad between every paragraph. It was incredibly hard to read. I have no problems with ads, but when they disrupt reading flow it’s too much.

      1. I think some of them don’t care. They’re trying to monetize in any way possible, and I get it, but it gets to the point that I will never read that blog again. They’re driving away readers.

  2. I don’t advertise using google ads or wordpress ads. I pay for a personal plan so that ads don’t show on my site. I find them to be quite annoying. But I don’t mind promotions at the end of a post, about books, or whatnot. I just hate ads for third party stuff. xoxo

  3. I also hate video ads and when I had ads on my site, I would block those from appearing whenever I could. The ones that remain still most of the time then have something that shakes or jumps forward make my blood boil.

  4. I can’t say that I see a lot of ads but then I don’t read many blogs anymore. If you stick with reading in the Reader you don’t see them at all (I don’t think).. It’s bad enough that people put so much stuff in sidebars and then the content is squished in the center with a tiny font..then have ads…makes the whole thing unreadable and unattractive…

    1. I mostly read blogs in the Reader too, except for self-hosted blogs that don’t show their full posts in the Reader. It’s a nice way to avoid seeing ads.

      I don’t mind stuff in sidebars as long as the sidebar is fairly narrow. Squished content is annoying.

  5. 🙂 I will tolerate three advertisements on a blog; any more would be overkill in my opinion.

    What some people do not know is that having too many advertisements on their blog will slow down the loading time of their blog.

    The harsh reality is that many of us want to read the blog posts of bloggers and not click on the advertisements that are displayed on their blogs.

  6. I too understand that people want to make money but it does go way too far. If a site or social media page looks too spammy it’s a real turnoff. The pop-up ones are the most annoying. I will usually leave the site unless it’s something important or if it’s a retail site–the latter is more understandable.

    1. On a retail site where I’m browsing around, I find it easier to deal with adds. But if it’s a site where I’m actually trying to read content, it’s pretty unappealing when it looks spammy.

  7. I don’t mind ads. However, I find that blogs /sites with too many ads particularly the videos, slows down Chrome so much so that the page freezes. Of course you are right, I rarely return to visit such sites.

  8. Teagan and Her Horses

    I don’t mind some advertising. People have to make money after all. It just can’t get in the way of the content. A side bar, a couple of lines a third of the way through the article, or some thing at the end doesn’t bother me. But ads between every paragraph are way too much. Plus, I am blind and use a screen reader and some ads don’t play nice with that and I can’t read the content even if I want to. I think those ads tend to be ones that move/change, but I don’t know for sure.
    I have yet to really research advertising programs, but I’ve heard that Google AdSense isn’t a good one. You just don’t make much money from it compared to some other programs. Not entirely sure how true that is.

  9. I get completely incensed by those stories where they have ONE cliffhanger sentence on each page and you are supposed to scroll through 150 pages just to get to the point. I did try to go through one once just to see how much they could drag it out and it was so annoying, I gave up.

    Eg Headline: “Jane received the shock of her life!”
    Page 1: “Jane was an ordinary person, but one day that would all change.”
    Page 2: “She was born to ordinary parents and thus never expected anything like this”. Etc.

    Thankfully most website owners must realise that Page 2 usually receives 0 views and don’t try this.

  10. This was a fascinating read and l equally found all the comments intriguing as well. i have an internal conflict with regards advertising. on guy blog, l have the busines plan so l don’t have adverts anywhere .. aside from my own banner at the bottom advertising my own designs on Redbubble. Since l started advertising the designs l now average out about £10 profit pcm which is way up on my income before l started using and utilising the banners.

    Pre-banners would have amounted to around £10 every six months profit.

    So for the personal blog, for me personally one banner advert at the bottom of the post is more than ample.

    I personally prefer to see advertsing at the bottom of published posts and not at the top or the sides as l find it too distracting and most assuredly not in the middle of content l am reading especially if they move. If adverts actually move, l am usually gone under a cloud of blue verse as that annoys the shite out of me.

    Like Renard l can tolerate three adverts per page of content. but no more than that.

    I was reading an article only recently because the marketing course l am studying is also discussing advertising and ideal locations and that is where my conflict is starting as they say ideal locations are mid content .. can certainly tell they are not on the damn spectrum!

    But the article was discussing that up from say 2010, we now as users of the internet see daily anywhere between 4,500 – 7,000 assorted adverts – on the internet on our computers, or our other devices including mobile phones and the TV and even listening to the radio we are under the advertsing assault.

    Consumer based advertising is the most commonly seen advertising we are subjected to today as it is mostly classed as influenced marketing and most advertising strategy’s have swung back to the later 70’s and early 80’s movement of sell the sizzle and not the steak as in think car adverts, mobiles and perfume advertising – quite bloody useless, corny, celebrity oriented – these are factors that heavily influence the buyer..

    It used to be a jungle out there in the world, now it is simply a jingle!!

    Solid provocative post Ashley – nice one!

    1. I think there’s a huge difference between what’s ideal for viewers and what’s ideal for the site owner trying to make money. Viewers prefer ads to be unobtrusive, and like you, I prefer ads at the end of a post. But if you’re trying to get more ads in front of more eyeballs so you can make more money, mid-post will do that.

      1. Totally, l completely get that [mid post eyeballing] but for me personally, unless l am specifically on a sales site where l am more than prepared for my senses to be blasted on a content read, l want advertsing to be less invasive.

        I have seen some supposedly content blogs and they are what l would single handedly class them as non-content blogs and purely as invasive and obtrusive advertising blogs. Those need to carry a health warning1

        I get it that bloggers/traders/sellers/retailers and even some writers want to make a killing, but l think the true magic is trying to establish a balance that works best for both parties. What is really needed is a large dose of common sense in most cases.

          1. Very true, l agree with that.

            I think advertsing needs to be seriously considered and well thought out.

            In my opinion and what l prefer personally – is advertising that is specifically tailored – l find that when people are say advertising affiliate advertising that is specific/genre specific to their content – l think that is more fitting over that of random advertising that doesn’t fir the content.

            I was on a composting site the other day and they had ladies dresses ??? Then l was on another one and they had content being displayed that was relevant to composting – it makes ahuge difference.

            1. I think affiliate advertising makes much more sense than general advertising. I write book reviews, and I use Amazon affiliate links for the books I’m reviewing; it seems like a natural fit, and I’m not shoving irrelevant ads in people’s faces.

            2. Precisely – your advertising fits exactly where it should – affiliate advertising has a more decent chance of successful success as opposed to ill thought out and random traffic advertising.

  11. Johnzelle Anderson

    I don’t use any ads on my blog. I have some affiliate links in my blog posts, but they’re subtle and light. I have one paid ad on my podcast but I put it wayyyy at the end of the episode after people likely stop listening. Since they only pay a penny/ listener, they don’t get convenient placement.

      1. Johnzelle Anderson

        Agreed. I was pleasantly surprised to see my book review links have generated enough for a cup of Starbucks lol

  12. I hate ads that move around the page as you scroll down. And those clickbait articles that turn out to be page after page of a hundred ads and you have to keep clicking “next” for more of the story but it drags out and you give up….

  13. I think it definitely gets overblown how many bloggers are “successful”, with success defined in terms of making money. I suspect most people who try to make money make sweet fuck all. And for people who do make money, I’m guessing ads make up a pretty small percentage of their revenue.

    Google AdSense gives site owners a say over what categories of ads appear, and you can tell it not to reshow certain ads that have already been shown, but you can’t prevent ugly.

  14. If I am seeing more ads before I see the content, then that’s an instant exit from me. If, and a very big if, I ever have ads on my blog, then it will be limited to 2 – one featured in the content, and one in the sidebar. Otherwise its just spam and I despise spam.

    1. Yeah seeing ads before content is a huge turnoff.

      2 seems like a reasonable limit. But sponsored content and affiliate links that are relevant to the blogger and their audience seem like they’d be more likely to bring in some income without turning readers off.

  15. Okay, now over to you. What level of advertising do you find to be too much, and are there particular types that bother you more than others?

    Like you, I find the ads that flash, blink or have people moving around to be very distracting and I won’t watch, so I end up leaving the site where the thing is. I grant you that ads are a necessary evil, because without them people would have to pay probably huge amounts to use the internet. So granted they have a purpose. I still don’t like them. I cancelled my TV satellite service for that very reason actually, but a close second was their soaring prices and woefully bad customer service.

    I’m spoiled and I grant that too. But I’m just not interested in 99.9% of the ads. The other .1% probably piss me off, but they’re tolerable because they don’t move, blink or flash, and they’re short, to the point, and not invasive nor pushy.

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