Ad Overload: Are Publishers Showing Too Many Ads?

Publishers are increasingly conscious of ad overload, as the past decade has made them realise user experience is a key factor in developing brand-loyal customers. Display advertising remains a strong income source if managed correctly and does not deter the user. It seems to be a mission among publishers to find the correct balance of ads on a page while still generating sufficient ad revenue.

What is Ad Overload?

Ad overload, also known as ad fatigue or ad clutter, refers to the excessive presence of advertisements on digital platforms such as websites, social media, and mobile apps. This phenomenon occurs when users are bombarded with too many ads, leading to a saturated and often overwhelming browsing experience. Ad overload can detract from content engagement, causing users to become desensitized or annoyed by the constant interruptions. Consequently, it can lead to negative perceptions of both the platform and the advertised brands, reduced ad effectiveness, and increased use of ad-blocking software. Striking a balance between ad revenue and user experience is crucial to mitigating ad overload and maintaining a positive interaction environment.

How Many Ads Are Shown on Average Per Page?

The number of ads publishers place on a webpage varies widely depending on their monetization strategy, audience engagement goals, and the type of content being presented. Typically, news websites and content-heavy platforms aim to strike a balance between generating ad revenue and maintaining a positive user experience. On average, a homepage might feature between 6 to 10 ads, including banner ads at the top and bottom, sidebar ads, and in-content ads dispersed throughout the page. Article pages often contain 4 to 8 ads, with banners, sidebars, and native ads integrated within the text to maintain reader engagement.

Do Market Conditions Leave No Choice for Publishers?

Publishers are now fighting for ad revenue, not amongst themselves but against external forces. Google is currently involved in a lawsuit with publishers potentially worth £13.6 billion, primarily concerning anti-competitive practices that have resulted in ad revenue damages to publishers. The privacy-centric era we are living in also means less data is available to publishers. This results in less targeted ads to readers, and thus a lower CPM for publishers.

Publishing groups are not immune to economic circumstances, with rising costs and low consumer confidence affecting subscriptions in recent years. This may mean a publisher looks to increase ad impressions to cover costs.

Are Readers Unhappy?

The number of ads that should be shown to readers is a constantly debated topic. Readers generally prefer fewer ads but understand that articles and blogs are produced by businesses that need to generate revenue. Over the past decade, ad overloading has possibly led to growing distrust between readers and publishers, as users have been overwhelmed with advertisements. The consensus is that readers are willing to tolerate a few ads on a website, especially if they are not paying for the content, as long as the ads are not overly intrusive and do not disrupt their browsing experience.

publishers feeling pressure

How Does B2 Ad Reinsertion Help?

When discussing the use of our Ad Reinsertion with publishers, we like to leave options on the table regarding how it can be used. The main use of B2 Ad Reinsertion is to display ads to the user regardless of the ad blocker they have installed on their device. This guarantees ad revenue for the publisher in a time when publishing groups need it.

Another option B2 Ad Reinsertion provides to publishers is to reduce ad overload while maintaining a similar amount of ad revenue. For example, a publisher that has a 20% ad blocking rate on their website and shows 5 ads can use B2 Ad Reinsertion to reduce the number of ads to 4, allowing for a more pleasing user experience while still generating the same ad revenue. If you want to explore the possibilities of using B2 Ad Reinsertion, contact a member of our team via