Almost a quarter of the consumers in the US are using ad blockers. Publishers all around the world are losing close to $40 billion to ad blockers. We have already discussed some fixes in our previous blog post, but as you’re nearing the holidays, it’s best to look at more timely and actionable strategies. So in this Adblock recovery post, we listed some of the best ways to recover your revenue lost to ad blockers. Let’s begin.
Table of Contents
- Branded Content
- Paid Subscriptions
- Ads Standards
- Server-Side Ad Insertions
- Other Industry Solutions
- What’s Next?
Branded content is 100% immune to adblocking because there is no involvement of tags/scripts/codes or any other kind of third party tech solutions to deliver the marketing message. The valuable content and the ad blend in such a way that the mixture is both informational and commercial. As per CMI:
“Branded content is a content creation tactic, typically produced through a sponsored or paid partnership between the brand and the media, that encourages audiences to engage with the brand based on its entertainment, information, and/or educational value.”
If done well, branded content can do wonders for brands/advertisers. It can increase the brand recall value by 59 percentage. Due to its effectiveness, branded content is not a small-time game either. Publishers like BuzzFeed, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and Bloomberg charge a minimum of $100,000 for branded deals.
Allocate some resources from your sales team to find sponsorship deals to run branded content. Have an ‘Advertise with us’ page on your site so that brands can contact you directly. Observe the sites in your niche, and see who is sponsoring branded content on them to find your potential clients.
Also, observe the programmatic ads on your site and try to approach the advertising brands directly. Google Ad Manager reports have dimensions like Advertiser, Advertiser domains, Advertiser verticals, Brands that can help you zero down the advertisers to contact.
Most of the web is free, but there are still many publishers who charge for their content, and their loyal followers are ready to pay. What is so special about these publishers? Unique content, trust, authority, valuable content, there can be many factors that convince the users to pay for the content, but the bottom line is that these publishers are not completely dependent on ad revenue.
What can you offer in your subscriptions? Exclusive content, ad-free experience, podcasts access, newsletters, premium resources, the list is endless. Paid content is valued highly among the audience. The average revenue per user (ARPU) is seven times more with paid subscriptions when compared with advertising.
But how do you get paid subscribers? The Economist uses LinkedIn to gain subscribers. It has tripled the number of subscribers and doubled the traffic from LinkedIn in 2020 by posting stories consistently. The Atlantic finds the pieces of content that can convert the visitors on the spot. Later, it makes sure that the subscribers develop the habit of reading its content by applying various strategies.
Bloomberg Media offers bundled subscriptions so that you can access multiple at a discounted price. The discount helps in converting the visitor easily. Danish publisher Zetland sponsors podcasts to attract subscribers, it has also run paid campaigns on social media for the same purpose. On the other hand, sports publisher The Athletic runs 120 podcasts for its paying subscribers. Many publishers run ad campaigns on their sites to promote their subscriptions.
Ad blockers do not block every ad on the web page. Adblock Plus, the most prominent adblocker in the industry, has a set of “Acceptable Ads” that can be exempted. The Acceptable Ads are considered non-intrusive; hence, they are not blocked by the extension.
First, you have to adopt the Acceptable Ads standards listed on the official website. Later, you have to get whitelisted by the Acceptable Ads Committee. Depending on the size of your publishing business, you may also have to pay for the membership. You can serve the ‘Acceptable Ads’ to Adblock users once whitelisted by the committee. But remember that a minority of Adblock users have opted to block every kind of ad; no ads will be delivered to such users no matter if they are acceptable or not.
Similar to the Acceptable Ads Committee, there’s Coalition of Better Ads, a much more respected consortium in the industry that works for user experience on the web. The Coalition of Better Ads gives us the Better Ads Standards. Chrome’s inbuilt adblocker can block the ads on your site if you do not adhere to the Better Ads Standards. So, stick to the standards to avoid getting blocked by Chrome.
Server-Side Ad Insertion
Server-Side Ad Insertion is suited to avoid video ads getting blocked. Traditional techniques like VAST and VPAID stitch the ads with the content on the client-side (browser). When the stitching process takes place on the client-side, the adblocking solutions can easily distinguish the ad from the content. It becomes easy for the software to block the ads as soon as the ads are spotted.
Server-side Ad Insertion conducts the stitching process before the ad, and the content reaches the client (browser). As a result, the ad and the content reach the client in a single stream, proxied from the same server. The software cannot differentiate the ad, hence fails to block them.
We have mentioned this earlier, and we are suggesting it again because it is the best, simple, and most straightforward approach to deal with ad blockers. Whenever users with adblockers reach your site, you ask them to either turn off the ad blocker or whitelist your site in it. You can also choose to educate the user about the importance of ads for the open web. There are solutions like Blockthrough, Uponit, Blockadblock, etc. to help you with it.
Other Industry Solutions
Google Funding Choices
Funding Choices allows your visitors to fund your publishing business if they do not wish to see the ads on your site. With Funding Choices, you can ask the AdBlock users to allow ads, buy a Contributor Pass, or opt for any other choices provided by you.
You can also give metered access to visitors.
How can you sign up for Funding Choices?
- Go to AdMob or Ad Manager and find the Privacy and Messaging tab in the left menu.
- Click on Go to Funding Choices.
- Accept the terms and conditions and create your account.
Scroll is a subscription service that allows an ad-free experience to its users for a $5 monthly fee. It is working with hundreds of publishers. Out of the $5, Scroll keeps $1.5 and distributes the remaining $3.5 among the publishers. The division of the $3.5 is done based on the usage by the subscribers. For example, if a subscriber has visited only two websites, both for an equal amount of time, then the division will be 50-50 among the two websites. The Atlantic, BuzzFeed News, Gizmodo, Kotaku, and sites from BuzzFeed are already accessible through Scroll.
The subscribers do not need to download anything to access the ad-free versions of the sites. Scroll places a cookie in the user’s browser that can ask the sites not to serve ads. The websites also load faster when there are no ads.
Interruptions, distractions, security, speed, etc. are some of the reasons behind the use of ad blockers. Every publisher should try to maintain the balance between ads and user experience to ensure that no visitor feels the need to install ad blockers. At the same time, as the number of ad blocking users is continuously increasing, you have to keep finding new ways to recover your revenue from them.