A study by Simon Fraser University in Canada asked student volunteers to browse popular websites like the New York Times and Washington Post as well as Buzzfeed, Mashable, and YouTube. They found that using adblocking software reduced bandwidth consumption by 25% (and up to 40% when considering video consumption alone).
This is a big deal
Imagine reducing your data consumption by 25%. If you’re not on an unlimited data plan, how much money would you save? Now multiply that across hundreds or thousands of users in a large enterprise environment.
I’m not against advertising on the web. I think publishers of content deserve to be fairly compensated for their work, and let’s be honest, people hate paying for articles.
But advertising is one of the biggest causes of bloat and poor performance on many websites. Ad scripts often load autoplay audio and video, multiple image files, or several more scripts. They often do so synchronously, blocking the rendering of any other content until they’re done.
We as web professionals share the blame. We need to push back on ad bloat. We need to be champions for performance. And we need to come up with better models for ad-supported content on the web.