| Aug 22, 2023 | | 6 min read

What happens to a website with lots of ads displayed?


It’s no secret that most websites make their money through advertising. In fact, advertising is a great way for website owners to generate limitless passive income that helps them cover their own business expenses. To put it into perspective, a website that has just 500,000 views per month can earn an extra $1,000 to $5,000 per month (Playwire).

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That said, a website with lots of ads displayed can have detrimental effects on the business hosting it, ranging from loss of credibility to loss of income. In this article, we’re digging deep into what happens to sites with a lot of ads and how excessive advertising negatively affects the user experience. Keep reading to learn more.

Why implement ads on a website, anyway?

Businesses that are looking to remain competitive in an increasingly saturated digital space often turn to advertising as a means of earning additional income. With tools like Google AdSense, everyone from content creators wot enterprise-level businesses have the option to monetize their websites by selling small bits of space on their websites to high-paying advertisers.

Are websites with lots of ads problematic?

While some advertisements on a website are completely acceptable (and even expected), businesses and website owners who over-sell space on their pages to advertisers are likely to find themselves diminishing the user experience for those who navigate to their site.

Even well-crafted advertisements can detract attention from a web page’s purpose, resulting in more clicks on ads than links or content within the website itself. In extreme cases, websites with lots of ads become downright unusable due to overwhelming clutter or slow-to-load pages. This can result in less website traffic, lower click-through rates, and search engine penalties in the form of decreased rankings.

What could happen to websites with lots of ads?

Ads are an essential part of any web-based business but when a site has a lot of ads crowding individual content pages, there are several negative consequences website owners might find themselves dealing with:

  • Increased loading times: Too many ads placed on a single page can significantly slow the loading process. Customers will likely leave your website before they take time to interact with your content.
  • Clutter: Too many ad placements among content can impact your web page’s overall design and cause visual clutter, making your content harder to read. This creates confusion among visitors who might become overwhelmed by what they see.
  • Lower search engine rankings: Your site might show up far lower in search engine results pages, reducing your visibility among potential new visitors or customers.
  • Decreased credibility: Too many inappropriate or poorly designed advertisements across your website suggest you’re not taking care of what gets put onto your pages. This leads to potential buyers or viewers questioning whether you can adequately look after their individual needs when placing orders.
  • Low CTR & CPC rates: Because of the per-impression and per-click model, excessive ads on a webpage could lead to lower rates for advertisers, as they receive less value for their money.

What are some ad elements that can ruin user experience?

To ensure a positive user experience, make sure to avoid these types of ads and focus on making the adverts relevant, unobtrusive, and engaging to your users:

  • Forced pop-ups and interstitials: Ads that typically float over the content as you scroll down and are difficult to close, or interstitials that redirect the user away from the main content without offering a path back.
  • Autoplay video & audio ads: Typically occur when you load a page and a video or audio file automatically starts playing without ever engaging with it. Users find this annoying.
  • Large stick ads that cover more than 30% of the bottom of the screen: These ads can be intrusive and make it difficult for users to navigate the website.
  • Intrusive ads: Ads that interrupt the user's natural flow and ruin their experience with your website, which results in a higher bounce rate and less ad revenue.
  • Junky and repetitive programmatic ads: These ads are automatically placed by Google and others and can be annoying and repetitive.
  • Ads that take time to load: Ads that force the content page to shift abruptly can ruin the user experience.
  • Ads that clog up bandwidth: Ads that use a lot of bandwidth can make the website slow and difficult to use, especially on mobile devices.

Balancing ads and user experience

Advertising is one of the most effective ways for businesses to generate revenue, but implementing too many ads on one webpage can negatively affect user experience, which is one of the most important aspects of your website’s design.

A visit to your website should be valuable and enriching for the user. Whether you’re selling a product or service or creating content for educational or entertainment purposes, visitors shouldn’t feel swindled when they navigate to your page. The content you present should be displayed in a clear, easy-to-read format that’s free from excessive distractions (ie. advertisements).

But how do you monetize without building a website with lots of ads, especially if you’re not selling products and services? Without enough advertisements on your site, you might not have the opportunity to earn a reasonable income, but if you have too many, you’ll find yourself losing visitors and ultimately, unable to earn any income from website advertising. The key here is balancing ad placement and user experience.

Here’s how to achieve it:

  • Avoid sticky ads, pop-ups, and audio: Ads that impact the user experience by obnoxiously overlapping your content are often too much. Instead of this type of advertising, stick with simple adds such as banners and muted video that website visitors can listen to on their own accord.
  • Keep advertising contextual: Ads that display relevant content fulfill users by giving them more of what they came looking for in the first place. Avoid advertisements that are unrelated to user intent.
  • Keep it light: Too many ads or ads that are too large can reduce your pages load time exceptionally. According to the 3-second rule (Think With Google), which is often touted by Google, “The probability of bounce increases 32% as page load time goes from one second to three seconds.” Keep your users interested by avoiding building a website with lots of ads.
  • Choose quality over quantity: Opt for brands and advertisements on your page that don’t overwhelm other elements and ensure the brands you’re advertising offer high-quality products or services to maintain your own credibility.
  • Experiment with ad placement: When optimizing advertisements, it’s worth experimenting with various placements throughout different pages to ensure the best possible user experience.

Frequently asked questions

Which website has the most ads?

Search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo typically display the most ads. While these websites have a lot of ads, they’re displayed in a way that doesn’t affect the user experience. In most cases, these ads are displayed as sponsored search engine results, clearly indicating that they’re advertisements but not impacting the display of other organic results.

How many ads are too many?

The answer to how much advertising is too much is subjective and depends on the user’s individual preferences. Generally speaking, though, too many advertisements will clutter up the design and obstruct content from being viewed as intended. Other websites with lots of ads will load slowly or incorrectly, indicating that there are too many ads on display.

About the Author

Lawrence Dy is the SEO Strategy Manager at Vendasta. His career spans from starting as a Jr. Copywriter in the automotive industry to becoming a Senior Editorial Content Manager in various digital marketing niches. Outside of work, Lawrence moonlights as a music producer/beatmaker and spends time with friends and family.

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