How will traffic be affected by removing banner ads from your website? This is the result of experimenting with A / B test

Many of the free web services and apps are profitable and successful by displaying

banner ads. However, many users find 'advertising annoying' and avoid websites that display a lot of advertising. While websites make money by displaying ads, Gwern Branwen, the operator of, thought that ads might be driving users away and losing traffic, said banner ads. We conduct A / B testing by showing or hiding, and publish the results of investigating how it affects the 'whole website' rather than the page level.

Banner Ads Considered Harmful ·

◆ Relationship between advertising and user experience
In the first place, Branwen said that he could hardly find the literature 'How will the traffic be affected by removing the advertisement?' Before testing. Major advertising companies such as Google should have such data, but the information is not disclosed because Google, which makes money from advertising, does not get the benefit of showing 'the profit of removing the advertisement'. ..

One of the documents discovered by Branwen by Google. In a study, Google said, 'Optimizing ads based on short-term revenue is obvious and easy to implement, but it's harmful in the long run if the user experience is negatively impacted.' (PDF file) Experiments show that 'reducing ads by 50% in mobile search has dramatically improved the user experience.' It is not clear how much the user's activity has increased, but it seems that a unique index showed that 'withdrawal has decreased, activity has increased, and advertisements have become more visible.' is.

◆ What happens when web services and websites reduce advertising?

To date, a small number of websites and web services have published experimental results measuring advertising harm and reviews of correlation analysis. The literature discovered by Branwen (left) and the location where the test was conducted (right) are as follows.


Pandora / (PDF file) Measuring Consumer Sensitivity to Audio Advertising: A Field Experiment on Pandora Internet Radio
02: Mozilla / (PDF file) The Effect of Ad Blocking on User Engagement with the Web
03: LinkedIn / Measuring Long-term Impact of Ads on LinkedIn Feed
04: Experimental website / (PDF file) THE EFFECTS OF ONLINE ADVERTISING
05: Google / (PDF file) Focusing on the Long-term: It's Good for Users and Business
07: Anonymous News Media / Do Ads Harm News Consumption?
08: New York Times / (PDF file) Digital Paywall Design: Implications for Content Demand and Subscriptions

Analyzing these documents, the above surveys agreed that inserting ads would lead to a decrease in users, even though the categories were different. For example, a study by streaming service Pandra showed that adding one ad per hour reduced average viewing time by 2.075%. This experiment was conducted over 21 months, and if 3.622 ads were displayed per hour, it would be calculated that there was a 7.5% user loss after 21 months. In addition, it is said that user loss due to advertising was also seen in Mozilla and LinkedIn.

◆ What is the result of the actual A / B test?

A / B testing is often done to display different design and advertising conditions on a page-by-page or user-by-user basis to improve website performance. However, from the perspective of website operation, it has been pointed out that such A / B testing is meaningless because it only measures the performance of each page, not the performance of the entire website. To do.

So Branwen goes beyond the boundaries of individual pages, measuring traffic across the website with Google Analytics and 'randomly deciding whether to load ads into the client's local JavaScript every two days.' , Long-term and time-series measurements were made. The test was conducted for 288 days from January to October 2017, and a total of 251164 sessions and 380,140 page views were analyzed.

Below is a regression analysis of the results of A / B testing by Branwen. The red line is the traffic of the user who displayed the advertisement, and the blue line is the traffic of the user who displayed the advertisement.

You can also see that users spend more time reading websites without ads over time.

From the results of the analysis, Branwen shows that displaying ads reduces traffic by an average of 9% and up to 14% due to the influence of users who do not use the ad blocking function. This percentage is believed to be higher for websites with more users who do not use the ad blocking feature.

Of course, the above results don't apply to all websites, and Branwen also mentioned that ' is a text-centric website.' has few image elements, so hiding ads can dramatically improve loading speed. A website with a cluttered design with many images and videos may be slow to load in the first place, and users may have a small dislike of banner ads, so it may not be a dramatic change. That is.

in Note, Posted by logq_fa