There are a ton of reasons why a website might exist. Some are there to inform about the latest gossip, a few have the lofty goal of education, and heaps are there simply to entertain with cute puppy antics and hilarious memes.
While each website you happen to land upon has one major underlying reason on which to justify its existence, most also have a secondary purpose – to create a revenue stream for their owners.
How Do Websites Earn Money?
The income a website creates can be earned in several ways. Many sites belong to physical businesses – both small and large – with the sole purpose of promoting a brick and mortar location, educating potential customers on their goods and services before they labor out the front door to grace the business with their physical presence.
Think plasterers, plumbers, mechanics, and interior decorators – all businesses where most work can only be conducted offline in the physical world. The website for these businesses is often not much more than an elaborate online brochure. All websites need eyeballs looking at them to justify their existence, and the easiest way for business operators to drive traffic to their online presence is through paid advertisements – which are bought and sold on the internet to the order of millions every day.
You could almost say that without advertisements the web would be a mere shadow of what it is today. Running a popular website can be expensive if traffic volumes are significant, as it requires a major investment in infrastructure to be able to serve massive amounts of data to millions of connected computers, tablets, and smartphones every minute of every day – something which could not be achieved without deriving some sort of income from that traffic.
Too Much In Your Face Marketing
Sadly, while ads could be said to be the foundation on which the internet exists, the sheer volume of ads, and the way many online advertisers choose to ensure their visibility is encouraging many users to take measures that allow them to completely avoid them altogether. Pop-ups, pop-unders, and gaudy flashing banners littering every corner of the web have been annoying internet users for over two decades now, and quite frankly more and more users are just getting plain fed up with it.
Unlike traditional media, where a reader or TV viewer can simply turn the page, or use the opportunity to go to the bathroom or kitchen, an advertisement on a web page can seriously detract from the user experience and make it downright annoying – especially on mobile devices where data access is still relatively expensive to the point where every kilobit counts.
Users are Often Forced to Pay for the Ads
It’s one thing to be forced to wait while a data-heavy video download to your home network, where unlimited data is gradually becoming the norm and speed makes the download wait negligible, but the delay can be long indeed on a mobile network. Plus, now the user is being forced to foot some of the bill for the ad in their monthly data charges. Once the user learns that there is a way around their dilemma in the form of an ad-blocker who can blame them for jumping on the ad-blocking bandwagon?
The News Isn’t All Bad
There are plenty of online pundits proselytizing the death of the Internet due to the rise of the ad-blocker, but if you take a step back and think for a moment you may start to realize that the news isn’t all bad.
The goal of most online advertisements is to elicit some sort of willing response from the user, whether it be to purchase a product, sign up for a newsletter, or just click through to the website being promoted just to learn more about what’s on offer. Notice that I said willing response.
If you consider that a person who is determined enough to avoid ads to the point where they install an ad-blocker is one that is extremely unlikely to click on an ad anyway then you may start to see ad-blockers as creating a certain financial benefit to online advertisers.
While there are quite a few ad types designed to be deliberately distracting and in your face, many are created to merge seamlessly with the page content. Thus, they may be accidentally clicked on by visitors who have no intention of taking any further action.
As many online advertising models invoice according to the number of clicks an ad receives, these inadvertent clicks can add up to hundreds of dollars in wasted revenue every month. Ad ad-blocker will negate this problem, as the ad will no longer be served to who are most likely uninterested parties.
Ads which are charged based on the number of impressions (or views) can benefit as well as the advertiser will no longer be paying for ads to be seen by people who don’t want to see them.
Even ads created through a pay-per-click model will benefit as the cost of the ad is based not just on the number of clicks, but on the subsequent action taken after the click as well. Ads being seen only by those interested in the subject matter will be more likely to click through and take action; raising the quality score for the ad and lowering the overall price per click.
So, the rise of the ad-blocker my not be the bringer of doom and gloom that many are saying it is, and in fact they may be able to save many advertisers quite a few bucks. And given that many internet users realize that commerce underpins the very fabric of our society – myself included – the realistic scenario is that many users simply won’t use ad-blockers at all. I happen to like ads and even enjoy them if they are done right, can save me money, or provide me with access to valuable educational opportunities.
Plus, let’s not forget the power of great content. Ad-blockers will never be able to block an informative article or web page that provides valuable insight, promotes customer engagement, and builds a profitable relationship for both the business and the customer. maybe it’s time to start focusing on giving the customer what they want, instead of annoying them with unwanted advertisements.
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