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How Many Ads Do We See A Day In 2020?

Sam Carr

Sam Carr

April 9th, 2020

Sam obsesses over three things in life: Animals, Films and Marketing. We may have over exaggerated his love for marketing.

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In today’s world, everywhere you look you are constantly swamped by ads. Buy this, watch this, subscribe now!

But just how many adverts do we see in a given day? Is it in the hundreds? Thousands? Or more?

The answer is A LOT, and the figures will have you questioning how the human brain can cope with the constant information overload.

To give you an accurate answer, we’re taking a look at the growth of advertising and the new tactics advertisers are using to expose you to as many ads as possible.

We’ll also take a look at what consumers are doing to fight back against the constant barrage, and if advertisers have gone too far with their methods.

To get things started, let’s answer that burning question everyone wants to know. How many ads do we see in a day?

How Many Advertisements Are We Exposed to Daily?

Back in the 70s, it was reported that the average person saw between 500 to 1600 ads per day. Without online marketing being a thing back then, most ads could be found on billboards, in newspapers, and on TV promoting the latest products.

Even with their limited resources and increased government regulation, marketing firms were always working on ingenious ways to target consumers with new strategies such as “positioning”. In a media-oriented culture, advertisers found it necessary to position a product in the consumer’s mind, both within the context of its own benefits and strengths in relation to its competitors. This lead to the birth of product placement, one of the most time tested marketing strategies that is still used today.

A few decades later, and advertising had exploded into everyday life. In 2007, the market research firm Yankelovich estimated that the average person saw up to 5,000 ads per day, and after surveying 4,110 people, half of them said that advertising was “out of control”.

Fast forward to 2020, and although there are no official figures, the average person is now estimated to encounter between 6,000 to 10,000 ads every single day. With the figures nearly double that of 2007, how exactly did we get here? And how did the figure increase so much?

If you haven’t guessed already, you can thank the internet and new technologies for the huge increase. As soon as new technology becomes available, advertisers are always looking at how it can be monetized and help share their advertising messages.

In the last 20 years, online and digital marketing has grown exponentially and has created a long list of companies that make most of their profits from digital advertising. And with digital advertising showing no signs of slowing down, this list is only likely to increase, along with the number of ads.

The Rise Of Online Advertising

The exponential growth of online advertising can be traced back to the year 2000 when Google launched its AdWords advertising service. Since then, digital marketing has seen and huge increase and Google has managed to grow its advertising revenue every year for the past 19 years and made over $134 billion in 2019 alone, just from advertising.

But it’s not just Google who have been cashing in on the growth of digital advertising. In 2007, Facebook launched its own advertising services, which allows advertisers to target users and audiences based on a range of demographics and information. Shortly after launching, Facebook’s ad revenue started to increase exponentially every year and recently hit over $69 billion in advertising revenue in 2019.

This huge rise in digital advertising has had a direct impact on how many ads the average person sees in a given day. Back in the 70s, there was no social media, cell phones, or internet. All of these new technologies have opened up a range of new mediums for advertisers to advertise on and increase how many ads we see.

Just through using various social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, users can be exposed to native ads without even realizing it. These native ads often look like user-generated posts within a user’s feed, but upon closer inspection, it’s clear they are sponsored messages. This type of ad alone is responsible for the huge increase in the amount of ads we encounter every day.

But it’s not just social media that have had a huge impact on how many daily ads we see. Just by doing a Google search, it’s easy to notice just how many sponsored ads appear at the top of the results.

Originally, Google only displayed two or three ads at the top, but over the years, this has slowly increased with the most recent change making it four. This means for every search a user makes; they’re likely to encounter four sponsored ads. And with the average user making several Google searches a day, this can quickly add up.

From these two examples, it’s clear that digital advertising has had a huge impact on many people’s lives, and advertisers are using countless new technologies to target users. Here are several more marketing strategies companies are using to get their advertising messages in front of their audience.

Popular Brand Advertising Strategies In 2020

Paid search ads

Very popular with digital marketers, these ads appear on various search engines. Advertisers only pay for these adverts when they receive a click.

In-app banners

With the rise of mobile apps, many of them now have advertisements that support the free use of the service.

Video ads

The largest video sharing platform YouTube is owned by Google and is part of their ad network, which shows video ads to users watching videos.

Streaming ads

Twitch.tv and other streaming platforms have seen enormous growth in recent years and rely on video ads and branding deals as a form of revenue.

Social media ads

Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Reddit and LinkedIn are all cashing in social media marketing with their pay per click advertising model.

Email

GDPR regulation might have hit email marketing hard but with just an email address, advertisers can send sequences and funnels to potential customers for months to come.

Digital banner ads

Where digital advertising all began. With remarketing and display ads from Google, banner ads can be found on almost every website.

In game ads

Believe it or not, many brands have also approached game developers to ensure their brands are included in certain video games.

Product Placement

Found in many TV shows such as Stranger Things, some characters will promote products as it’s a great way to reach their target audience.

Adblock To The Rescue?

With the average person seeing up to 10,000 advertisements every single day, it was only a matter of time before users started to fight back. Visit any large website, and you’ll quickly be greeted with a whole range of banners and video ads. Everyone’s witnessed the annoying auto-playing ads at some point in their lives and know just how intrusive and sometimes scary they can be.

Since the majority of ads today are found online via websites, social media, apps and video content, a small group of people decided to fight back against the constant barrage. Appropriately named “Adblock” these various plugins have been a godsend for users who are constantly swamped with intrusive ads. With just a few clicks, all these annoying ads will instantly disappear and make online browsing a much more pleasant experience.

The first and most popular ad blocker to hit the scene was “Adblock plus” back in 2005. Originally released as a Firefox extension, it quickly spread to other web browsers including Chrome, Edge and Opera.

On paper, the idea of an ad blocker sounds great (at least for users!). By analyzing common patterns and the code of scripts, the plugin can detect when something is an ad and block it from displaying on the user’s screen. Of course, it doesn’t always work as intended.

Since its inception, there have been many problems with adblockers alike, including false positives, missing certain ads, and even big websites trying to get around them. One of the best examples is when Facebook changed its entire site to specifically stop adblockers from blocking their ads.

And that’s not the only problem with adblockers. Over the years certain adblockers such as “Adblock Plus” have been taking payments from large advertisers to whitelist their ads. This means anyone who has the plugin installed will be able to see their ads, defeating the purpose of installing it in the first place. This controversial move made many users angry and saw lots of new variations of adblockers released overnight.

While the idea of an adblocker sounds great in this day and age, with the constant false positives, whitelisting of ads, and websites avoiding them, adblockers actually aren’t as effective as you’d imagine. But with the number of ads we see per day increasing at an alarming rate, what’s likely to happen in the future.

How Many Ads Will We See In The Future?

So what’s the future for marketing and how many ads are we likely to see a day in the future?

The traditional marketing methods don’t seem to be going anywhere, and with the introduction of new company branding strategies and technology, we can only expect the number of ads to increase.

In recent years, there has been a huge increase in social media platforms and apps such as Snapchat and Pinterest. Both platforms are relatively new, and yet both have already built a huge user base. With new platforms also comes an increase in the number of ads. Known as social media marketing, many big brands are continually expanding their marketing efforts to ensure they get the most exposure on every platform. This means that whenever a new social platform is created, expect to see plenty of ads as brands take advantage of the marketing opportunity. With new platforms being created every year, expect to see more social media advertising in the future.

However, with most of the new technologies being digital, the introduction of plugins and software like adblockers will start to greatly decrease the number of ads we see. The first adblocker originally started out on desktop computers, but with the advancement of smartphones, it wasn’t long before a mobile version was made. And with technology getting better every year, how long is it until it’s possible to block other forms of advertising?

A recent kickstart project showcased the idea of glasses that block all screens, and in an article by Vice, they explored the concept of using them to block ads in the real world.

Could this be the future of adblocking and reducing how many ads we see per day? Possibly, but only time will tell how effective and useful they are. But with a combination of digital and real-life adblockers, this could be the solution to the growing number of ads per day.

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