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 always 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?