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Ad blocker users read up to 43% more articles, study shows

users that use ad blockers read more articles

Is there anything more annoying than a website covered in intrusive advertising? Travel blogs may be the worst at this, where it’s nearly impossible to plan the perfect weekend in Tampa with the nonstop autoplay video ads and the pop ups. If you have found yourself frustrated with ads online, you may have considered using an ad blocker software to erase the ads off your screen.

For online businesses that rely on advertising (blogs, news websites, us, etc.), these ad blockers can have a significant impact on revenue.  According to reports, ad blockers can account for up to 30% of loss revenue from ads. But is the impact all bad for publishers? If the user is happier on your website without the ads, will that have some positive impact for your business? Research says, yes! There might just be a good reason to leave off the ads. 

Research from the Journal of Marketing Research did a study where they looked at 3.1 million visits from 79,856 users, and found that users that used ad blockers read more articles (up to 43%). What’s notable is the increase of traffic was from people returning to the website, rather than people reading more articles per visit.


Our take

The research shows that the way a website shows ads impacts how willing a user is to return to that site. In a world where it takes 95% of users 3-4 visits to make a purchase with your website, that’s pretty important.

When creating a website for a business, it’s easy to focus exclusively on activities that attract new users, such as writing new content to get more organic traffic or launching a paid ads campaigns. New users are important, of course; however, increasing the number of users that return to a website is equally important. Returning users are the ones who become loyal to your brand, and more likely to sign up for your newsletter and make a purchase.

In summary, here’s our three takeaways:

  • User experience is key to growing returning website users.
  • Be careful about ad placements.
  • Don’t shy away from business models that don’t rely on ads (such as subscription).

Additional context

Chrome updates to extensions may hinder some ad blockers in 2023. If you use ad blockers, you may want to double check that it will work on Chrome this year. As reported by, Chrome updates are coming this year that may make some ad blockers extensions unable to function.

Ad blocker popularity aligns with the trend of online privacy. In a post-Cambridge Analytica world, people want to control their online experience, and are certainly willing to sacrifice functionality (and some money) for it. One study found that 42% of consumers would be willing to pay $12 for complete privacy on a social media network. Apple has certainly used privacy as a value-add for its phones; and one can’t ignore that the number of searches from DuckDuckGo, the search engine that puts privacy first, has nearly doubled year over year (Feb. 2020 vs. Feb. 2021). Privacy is in, and finding ways to put your users in the driver’s seat of their experience will likely pay off for you.

Want to ditch the ads? Here are a bunch of ways to do it.

Interesting stats related to ad blockers

  • 81% of people using ad blockers do it to avoid “annoying” ads (source)
  • 26% of internet users are blocking ads (source)
  • Males and females use them at about the same rates. Usage skews younger (below the age of 34) (source).
  • The first ad banner appeared in 1994, and the first ad blocker appeared only two years later in 1996 (source).

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