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Should you be getting paid to watch ads?


With the growth of ad blocking, are we likely to see more ways to make money through consuming advertising content? Now Tesco mobile customers can get paid to watch ads. Is this the future?


Many people will try to avoid seeing adverts whilst they are online and this is becoming more and more evident as ad blocker downloads are on the rise. The interest in ad blockers is undeniable with Google telling us that the searches for “ad block,” “adblock plus” and “ad blocker” have all climbed steadily over the last few years, particularly between 2013 and 2014.


And there isn’t just an interest in ad blocking, these searches correlate to downloads. AdBlock Plus, the most popular of the tools, says it has averaged 2.3 million downloads a week since 2013. Now in 2016 it seems the popularity of ad blockers is not faltering but transitioning to mobile. The 2016 Mobile Adblocking Report found at least 419 million people (22% of the world’s 1.9 billion smartphone users) are blocking ads on the mobile web.


The message is loud and clear: Consumers aren’t satisfied with online ads. So how are brands responding to this message? Well, some appear to be offering payment for consumers to watch ads.

Tesco Mobile

Tesco are living up to their slogan ‘every little helps’ with their new Xtras scheme offering the customer a reduction on their monthly phone contract if they view full screen static advertisements on their smartphone. Ads will appear every second or third time the phone is unlocked and customers are obliged to watch adverts on 21 days of each month. In return Tesco will reduce their monthly bill by £3.



This husband and wife run company absolutely believe consumers should get paid to watch ads making it the principal of their business. HitBliss offers TV shows, movies and music for a cost, if a consumer wants to purchase a TV show then they can either earn the cash to do so by watching a few adverts or if they don’t want to watch any ads and get straight to the show, they can pay the price. Simple. HitBliss give a choice up front rather than forcing adverts on dispassionate consumers who respond by reluctantly downloading ad blockers.



Maximiles take it one step further and don’t just give points (which can be exchanged for products from Maximiles’ vast reward catalogue) for watching brand advertisements but for almost any online activity. Points can be collected for completing surveys, shopping with certain retailers, referring friends to Maximiles and signing up to free registrations. Maximiles allow brands to easily gain loyal customers and customers to easily gain rewards. Sounds like a win – win situation.

Are we likely to see more and more ways to make money through consuming advertising content?

With Tesco now on board, we are likely to see more brands offering consumers payment for viewing ads. It’s the foreseeable future but how will consumers respond? Paying consumers is one way of getting them to view ads but is it effective? Paying consumers doesn’t mean they are paying attention. The only way to ensure consumers will engage with ads is to make the ads, well, engaging. While paying consumers may be today’s trend, tomorrow’s trend should see brands having no choice but to come up with bigger and better advertising ideas for the digital space.


David Chavern, CEO of Newspaper Association of America, makes the point that consumers aren’t dissatisfied with ads as a whole but more specifically bad ads. He claims that we are not inherently hostile to advertising with magazines like Vogue and TV programmes like the Super Bowl dedicating a large portion of the content to advertising. He claims it is the bad ads that we hate and unfortunately the digital space seems to feature a lot of them.

So should you be getting paid to watch ads?

Well, if brands are offering cash for very little work then why not take it.  At least until online ads start raising their game and becoming so engaging that you actually start seeking them out with no cash involved at all.

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