It’s time to talk about everyone’s least favorite topic: ads on Imgur. Buckle up, y’all, cause we’re going in.
We don’t need a puffin to know that ads are unpopular. The simple truth is that we absolutely need advertisements in order to exist today. We would not be able to support our business and keep Imgur running without displaying advertising to our users. We are not a profitable company, but we hope to someday be. That’s why we’re interrupting your browsing experience today to share the latest about ads on Imgur.
It’s important for us to test and change various ad units on Imgur so that we can hope to earn the most revenue with the least impact on your browsing experience (aka the least amount of ads). We have a hypothesis that this number of programmatic ad units might be two, so we’re going to test it. If you’re seeing this post, that means you are officially a pioneer of this experience! You didn’t sign up for this, but thank you for testing.
The test experience will contain only two types of programmatic ads (not to be confused with sponsorships ads, like Promoted Posts):
1) A “sticky ad,” which will appear at the bottom of all Imgur pages in its own frame. We will be testing a closable version and a non-closable version to see what the differences in behavior are.
2) The interstitial ad, which appears in between posts as you browse. This already exists on the iOS app, but not yet on Android.
If the test goes well, that might mean we go from four overall ad units on Imgur down to two. If it doesn’t we’ll keep testing to see what else might work.
We took a shot at coming up with some answers to concerns we hear a lot in User Sub.
“I hate ads and I’d pay not to see them.”
Same! The ideal business model for Imgur includes diverse revenue streams. We announced back in June that we’ve partnered with Coil to work on a subscription offering for those who want premium offerings. We hope to bring more details about the opportunities this partnership will bring for creators and users on Imgur, but it’s like to provide an ad-free option. Stay tuned for more news.
“What about malware and ads with sound?”
We want the ad experience on Imgur to suck as little as possible. We actively fight against “bad ads,” meaning those that violate Imgur’s advertising policy by having offensive visuals, playing sound automatically, redirecting you out of Imgur, acting maliciously, and more. We have a strict ad policy and hold ourselves to a high standard about which ad networks we will work with. Unfortunately, bad actors have nothing better to do than exploit these ad networks to get bad ads through. This is unacceptable to us.
Here’s what we’ve done in the last year to continue fighting against bad ads:
1. We’ve partnered with SafeDK and CleanCreative, companies that helps us monitor what ads are running on Imgur and proactively hunt down the bad ones with the exact information we need.
2. Developed custom code that prevents bad advertisers from hijacking the window or auto-redirecting you off of Imgur.
3. Disabled unwanted vibrations from ads so you can browse without interruptions.
4. Shutdown multiple third party ad partners that would not consistently adhere to Imgur’s advertising policy.
5. Hired a world-class ads team to constantly improve the quality of our ads and our ad vendors.
6. Updated our blocked ads list, which we add to regularly thanks to your reports to our support & community team.
7. Reduced a portion of our ad inventory that may have contributed to low quality impressions.
Reports of bad ads have decreased 30% in the past few months, and we hope to see this continue. If you experience a bad ad on Imgur, we hope you’ll help us out by reporting the ad to our support team.
That’s all for now. We’ll continue to keep you posted about the results of our ad experience tests. Thank you for continuing to support Imgur’s journey — we’ll see you in User Sub!