Firefox users ignore online ads

Firefox users ignore online ads

Summary: Internet Explorer users are at least four times as likely to click on Web ads than Firefox users, according to latest statistics

TOPICS: Networking
Firefox users are significantly less likely to click on Web site adverts than Microsoft Internet Explorer users, a German advertising technology firm said last week.

The firm, Adtech AG, found that during October and November only 0.11 percent of Firefox users ever clicked on an ad, compared to around 0.5 percent of IE users. The percentage of IE users clicking on ads varied across different versions, with 0.53 percent of version 5.5 users and 0.44 percent of version 6.x users clicking on ads. The survey was based on 1,000 web sites across Europe which use Adtech's ad server.

Dirk Freytag, the chief operations officer of Adtech, said in a statement that the reason for this trend is probably the different surfing habits of Firefox and IE users, and the inclusion of an integrated pop-up ad blocker in Firefox. Only IE6 users who have installed Windows XP SP2 have an integrated pop-up blocker, although IE users can also choose to install a third party pop-up blocker.

David Hallowell, a Mozilla contributor, said this trend could be because non-technical Web surfers, who tend to be IE users, are more likely to click on pop-up ads by mistake because they think the ad is a system dialog box.

"People click on [pop-up] ads because they think the system's trying to tell them something," said Hallowell. "The average Firefox user is more aware that they're ads, not system dialogs."

Another reason could be that Firefox users tend to be more likely to click on targeted ads rather than other types, said Hallowell. "Most people I know are more happy with Google's targeted ads -- they don't like big banner ads that are totally unrelated to what they're looking for," said Hallowell.

Adtech's findings could have significant implications for the online advertising market. It may be bad news for sites which rely on online advertising because as the number of Firefox users grows, they may get lower click-through rates. Alternatively, if Hallowell's theory is correct, then click-throughs from Firefox users could actually be more valuable -- if a Firefox user is thought more likely to have intentionally clicked on an advert.

In some cases Web surfers would be well-advised to stay clear of banner ads. Last month ZDNet UK reported that hackers have attacked ad servers and have modified the banner ads so that they redirect users to Web sites that download malicious code.

Topic: Networking

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  • that's because FireFox users are savvy, not the monggy type that accept what's given to them.
  • When you install the firefox adblock entension you can just right click on an ad and block the whole domain like or even those google ads. its so easy to block ads that I rarely see ads anymore and when I do I just right click and press block and I block the whole ad domain or I just block things like
    As firefox gets more popular ads will become less clicked on and even less clicked on when users find out how do use adblock.

    Thanks, bart5986
  • Get the "Adblock" extension from for Firefox and say goodbye to adds forever...
  • Exactly, and plus it has many more extensions. I dont' really see a future for advertising on the internet.
  • That's mainly because we firefox users are also savvy enough to fix up our hosts files to kill off third-party advertising sites. We don't even need Adbock.

    ZDNet in particular looks so great! No ads at all!
  • "Another reason could be that Firefox users tend to be more likely to click on targeted ads rather than other types!" ...

    Errr... no. Firefox users are not clicking on targeted ads any more than any other kind of ad. This isn't necessarily because FF users are more technical than IE ones, but that IE doesn't empower the user in the same way.

    The proportion of non-technical users may very well be greater with IE, but that doesn't explain why us FF users click on less ads than IE ones do. Basically, it's just that we block them because we've got the tools to do so and IE users don't.

    Hence the decrease in click-throughs and nothing else. Kapiche?!
  • This does spell an interesting situation for the apparent bucketloads of cash people are making off of clickthroughs. If tivo did for TV advertising, perhaps firefox is the nets Tivo...