are in-app ads fair in Garmin Connect – opinion

in-app ads in Garmin Connect – opinion

Ads have been in the Garmin Connect app for at least a year, the ones I know of only advertise Garmin’s products and deals. Is this fair or is it the start of a slippery slope to 3rd party ads?

More Background

The earliest note I could find on the existence of Garmin’s in-app ads was on Reddit (link) a year ago and they have presumably been displayed continuously from then up until one I was sent this week.

Garmin also introduced UTM tracking in March 2023, presumably to monitor the clickthroughs from the ads.

Is this a bad thing?

As you might expect there are a range of opinions on this with some Garmin owners seeing advertisements as an unwanted intrusion, and others including myself finding an occasional one-time, dismissible ad to be acceptable.

Whilst Garmin Connect is currently free to use, the same can’t be said of some competitors who ringfence premium features in a subscription. It can be argued that one reason for the premium price paid for a new Garmin watch is that a good app is included for free…although if you’d bought a super-cheap second-hand Garmin you’d still get the free app!

The current crop of ads are ones aimed at making us aware of new products and deals, essentially indirectly encouraging us to spend money and upgrade but a future extension of ads to third parties would be quite different. Third-party ads are intrusive and would be a direct revenue stream for Garmin likely generating millions of dollars.

However Garmin hasn’t done that and, interestingly, neither has Strava. The latter needs revenue FAR more than Garmin yet has steered clear of ads for non-subscribers perhaps fearful of the effect it would have on us sharing our activity data with the platform.

Other Changes Coming To Connect

Many of you will know that Garmin Connect (beta) has a re-imagined home page that shows your pertinent data more clearly but perhaps doesn’t look great.

Another change coming soon is a payment mechanism within Garmin’s app store (Connect IQ Store). Presumably, this will be for developers to more easily monetize their work and for Garmin to get a slice of the financial action.


I don’t mind the occasional ad for Garmin products. Do you?

I would object to third-party ads under almost any circumstance except perhaps for people who only have one entry-level Garmin product. But that would probably not generate enough ad revenues to make worthwhile.

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12 thoughts on “are in-app ads fair in Garmin Connect – opinion

  1. When paying 700 or even over 1000 Euros for a premium watch, i want everything ad free. Information about new garmin products maybe ok, maybe trade-inn programms or newer versions of my watch.
    Garmin should still be the market leader, why should they need ads in their app? Even when people buy second hand watches. I have never purchased a watch directly from garmin, simply because retailers are much cheaper and have to offer same service and warranty (at least in Germany).
    Third party ads should be a no go, even if it is for Strava or something like that. And i would not agree if there will be an ad free garmin connect version for money. But maybe i wuld like to see a Coros ad in Garmin Connect….

  2. Straight 3rd party ads would be a major turn-off for me.

    The ad that just popped up this week, I was not bothered by. It was easy enough to X out, and it doesn’t come back up when you reload the app, so it isn’t being constantly jammed down your throat. The offer for the Epix, at least in my opinion, was also a pretty attractive one (Not a biker, so can’t comment on the edge). Apart from a random Amazon day, the discount they offered brought that model lower than I have ever seen, so at least Garmin was offering something competitive, and not just a “Hey buy a new watch from us” ad.

  3. I have over $4000 in gear feeding data to Garmin. Watch, cyclocomputer,chest strap, pedals, blood pressure monitor, which I upgrade on the regular. Love the ecosystem, but ad free is one of the reasons why. Take that away, I start rethinking all my purchases going forward.

  4. While the cost in terms of user disappointment might not be huge if it’s nothing more than an occasional Garmin product announcement, so is the benefit Garmin could reasonably expect: someone opening their Connect app is already fully aware of the brand, and is either the kind of person who will under no circumstances buy anything before their existing device breaks, or they are the kind of person who longs for an excuse to shell out on a fresh toy and those people don’t need any ads forced into their screen flow to learn about new devices. There is really not much to win for Garmin, and definitely more than zero to lose.

  5. I spent$1200 on Garmin already and that’s primarily because it’s a no nonsense eco system. If I wanted a cheap, off the mill ecosystem then there are numerous alternatives.

    They must remain Ad free. I also second someone’s suggestion above for a trade in program. Can you imagine the potential for a program like that? The ability to upgrade to the latest hardware every couple of years at maybe 50% of the cost of something. You’re basically a Garmin customer for life!

    1. interesting idea and the 50% is an interesting figure.
      I would guess it would be less than that as there are quite a few low priced second hand garmins on the net, when Garmin got these 2 or 3 year old evices back the model would still need to sell in sufficient numbers as a refurb unit

  6. Ads is a no go. I stay with Carmin for the no Ads if they do Ads thank i go back to the old days when using s stopwatch. I am currently on the beta program and all your data is there

  7. To be honest, I can’t remember ever seeing an ad in Garmin Connect (Android app, web) and I’ve been a long time user. I’m not quite sure I would mind. I’ve alway wondered about the business model supporting Garmin Connect with Garmin devices being the only source of revenue. My only piece of gear is a 8 years old FR735XT and it’s not showing any indications of being end of life soon (battery would be my main concern but with the typical duration of my activities i’m still ok). So this 2016 purchase is still paying from my use of the app? I think it does show in some aspects that there is probably a limited budget (not being able to show photos of the tracked gear comes immediatly to my mind). Which brings me back to the subject: i might not might relevant advertising (preferably for Garmin itself only) if that would result in revenues being directed to app improvement.

  8. I have never seen an ad in Garmin Connect. It would really piss me off.

    It also is a serious moral hazard to start selling data about ad impressions and Garmin has absurd amounts of data about its users.

    No ads.

    This is something that would drive me to a competitor.

    A trade-in or at least recycling program is a good idea. Note that Apple will take a trade in and resell or recycle your old gear. They will even recycle non-Apple equipment.

  9. Keep the ads aside (like on this site), no big deal. Pop them up as modals and I’d rather just donate to and use Garmins as sensors.

  10. The moment Garmin starts subscription or ads on Connect I would probably start selling off my Garmin stuff over time and go somewhere else. I am not spending several thousand Euros and suffer stupid ads while being totally annoyed that I have to rebuild my Glances on Epic and Marq every time I have to run a major SW upgrade.

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