How your data is spent when you visit a Zimbabwean website, including Techzim!

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Online ads are annoying, intrusive and a major distraction.

Not only do they frustrate website visitors but are reported to take up to 40% of your data and a significant amount of battery life.

40% is a considerable amount to lose to ads, especially with the high costs of data in Zimbabwe.

Your browsing experience is almost halved by ads.

So how do some of our local favorite websites balance between ads and content?

I decided to do a comparison of 3 local news websites: Newsday, Herald, and DailyNews.

To make the comparison as fair as possible, I compared a story from each website instead of using their homepages (via my chrome desktop browser), and here are the results:

NewsDay, who are ranked 7th highest in site traffic in Zimbabwe by Similar Web, have a total web page size of 3,35Mb with ads taking up 1,94Mb, that’s 58% of the page dedicated to ads.



The Herald Zimbabwe ranked 8th in site traffic in Zimbabwe, have a total web page size of 2,63Mb, with ads taking up 1,84Mb, that’s 70% 0f the page dedicated to ads.


Lastly, ranked 13th in site traffic in Zimbabwe, the Daily News web page has a size of 1,2Mb, with ads taking up 1,03Mb,  consuming 85% of the web page.


For interest sake, Techzim has a total page size of 3,4Mb, with ads taking up 3,03Mb, 89% of the web page.



It’s clearly evident Ads do consume a considerable amount of data for consumers.

A move away from the ad-based business model to something that benefits both readers and content creators is something content creators have to consider to stay appealing and in business.

The relationship between readers and web content providers has traditionally been a silent and somewhat unnoticed agreement.

Readers essentially pay for a part of the content created by viewing the adverts on the page.

It would be naive to think that the internet is free, somehow the content has to be paid for, otherwise, there would be no realistic incentive to create it.






  1. Vinni

    Would it be cheaper to put the sites behind paywalls rather than having the advertisers pay for our access?

  2. G

    wonder what is the cost a user has to pay in additional data charges visiting a page compared to the cost of a paywal. maybe the cost is the same

    1. L.S.M Kabweza

      End of day it depends on how the publisher price their subscriptions. What is clear so far from the simple checks is that at least 50% of what people consume on news sites is advertising and tracking code.

      But news sites are just a part of what people consume. There’s WhatsApp chatting which is not ad driven but is said to be 34% of the traffic consumption in Zimbabwe.

  3. 3rd Party

    Was it just me who saw this:

    “Your browsing experience is almost halved by ads.” And then an ad immediately below it!


    1. L.S.M Kabweza


  4. Imi Vanhu Musadaro

    More than 50% data used on ads and you guys are still against ad-blocking. That is wasting your visitors data, to be honest. The corporate websites shouldn’t even have ads on them, they should be nice, simple and clean.

    And, it’s not naive to think the internet is free. It was and still is. Look at how many ads are there? But, you and I get to read the news.

    What’s naive is to think that I NEED to visit your website at whatever expense YOU prescribe. There are plenty of alternate ad-free sites, for every ad infested one.

    The statement, “The relationship between readers and web content providers has traditionally been a silent and somewhat unnoticed agreement.”, is absolutely false. I would deduce that you started using the Internet this decade. Traditionally, there were NO ADS at all on websites. If you did find some, it was on search engine landing pages.

    Besides, you can’t champion “free” content, if I am paying via ads. Payment is payment, so your content is NOT FREE.

    1. Muzukuru

      You know the BBC is like ZBC right. It is funded by the British Government and by people’s TV and Radio licences. It’s like comparing Mnet to eTV.

      1. Imi Vanhu Musadaro

        Appreciated. Let me use newpaper websites to keep it “fair”,, and (unobstrusive ads at top). Give them a look and see how clean they look and feel. You might not even notice the ads on last one.

        1. Muzukuru

          I agree that ads should not be tacky or distract users. I use Adsense myself. While they have a 3 ad per page limit which is in itself reasonable I often use 2, make sure that my interface is extremely clean. The problem with the adblock brigade is that they also block adsense and that is a problem to me. I could apply for an exception but there are two problems here:
          1) I like to use in post ads because they perform better
          2) I don’t have time to find and them all and apply to each one. I am too busy creating awesome content.

    2. Not Acceptable

      You insult people about only using the internet this decade but you obviously have never had any real business experience.

      Comparing sites (like herald) which receive tens of millions of page views a month and cost thousands of dollars in hosting to websites from 10 years ago running on people’s spare computers and serving a couple of thousand pages is hardly a fair comparison.

      Beyond hosting there is also the creation of content. This is were your other argument falls down, you say you can get ad free content online, really where? Because you subscribe to a publication not just for its amount of ads but the quality of the content. If you getting it off some free blog you hardly going to be getting the same content as one produced by a dedicated portal such as techzim, where else can you get this article if not on techzim so yes they have a monopoly on this content cos they created it, so are within their rights to attempt to monetize that any way they feel.

      If this blocking goes ahead mark my words econet will come to the rescue and offer to sell bandwidth free advert packages and attempt to become an ad network for zim. They have said they are promoting new VAS to subsidize flagging call revenue. This cannot be allowed, they have already proved that they refuse to give their competition fair access to USSD and other platforms, now they will block their ad revenue access as well, sure say but they have got to this position so they get the reap the rewards all you want but the truth is such monopolies have been proved time and again to be bad for the public and it is the governments job to intervene. They should be split up into separate companies with arms length pricing to keep their mobile business separate from their content businesses. This has been done before in a number of countries and has benefited the consumer and the economy as it promotes competition.

      On a note to techzim, did the mobile versions of sites size / ad percent differ much from the desktop ones?

  5. Performance Master

    It’s not entirely accurate to say that all the assets needed to display ads are downloaded everytime. Most of the time the ad scripts & tracking scripts(the core js) are loaded from cache.

    So in most cases a user is only downloading images.

    Another thing to keep in mind is the upload data used by these ad/tracking scripts. Which over time will contribute a whole lot.

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