Users don't like slow websites. Studies have repeatedly found that as websites slow down, people visit fewer pages, buy fewer goods, and engage less often with content. But the backlash against slowChris Cummings
Users don't like slow websites. Studies have repeatedly found that as websites slow down, people visit fewer pages, buy fewer goods, and engage less often with content. But the backlash against slow websites may be more existential for sites that run advertising. A recent survey of more than 1,000 Internet users found that one of the primary reasons people use ad blockers is to speed up websites, suggesting that slow ads may now be contributing to the undoing of the advertising ecosystem altogether.
In this study, we decided to quantify the performance improvements provided by ad blockers. Users perceive ads to be slowing down websites, but how much impact do ads really have? To find out, we conducted an in-depth analysis of 101 of the most highly trafficked advertising-based sites on the Internet. We loaded each website ten times--five times with adblock and five times without--for a total of data set of 1,000 website load times. We then analyzed at the median load times, network requests, and download size for each website.
Here are the highlights from our findings:
Anecdotally, while conducting the research, we ran across sites that never completed loading, delivered janky scrolling, allowed page content jump around while ads loaded, and crashed the browser. These negative user experience events virtually never happened with adblock active.
In the full report, we include specific data on the 100 sites we measured, details on the methodology, and examples of sites that have successfully limited the impact of ads on load times.
If you have any questions or comments about the study, feel free to post them in the comments below.
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