Why Do People Use Ad Blockers?

An upsurge in use of ad blocking software, enabled by third party apps and recently boosted by Apple’s decision to make installation of such ad blockers easier by Apple’s iOS, is partly attributable to perceptions that ad blockers improve end user experience.

Just how much the irritation is over “ads” as such, and how much is caused by perceived slower loading times, for example, is the issue.

What is not debatable is that many users seem to be aware that advertising now significantly boosts mobile data consumption.

For users with limited mobile data usage, that matters.

Ads in free apps make mobile devices run slower and use more data,” says University of Southern California professor William Halfond, co-author of a study with Stuart Mcilroy of Queens University, Jiaping Gui of USC, Meiyappan Nagappan of Rochester University and William G. J. Halfond of USC.

Apps with ads  use an average of 16 percent more energy, lowering the battery life of a smartphone from 2.5 to 2.1 hours on average, or down to 1.7 hours at the high end of energy usage.

Apps with ads also take up an average of 48 percent more central processor time and 22 percent more memory use.

Because the ads themselves are content that has to be downloaded, apps with ads also cause smartphones to use up to 100 percent more data.  

On average, these apps use around 79 percent more network data.

That is a problem the ecosystem should be able to address, if the degree of annoyance--and the amount of ad blocking-increases significantly. We might not yet be at the point where there is enough pain to cause various ecosystem participants  

Price of a "free" mobile app
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