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What is an Ad Blocker and How a Publisher Can Deal With it?

Deal with ad blockers
Ad blocking is projected to cost publishers $75 billion US dollars by 2020, according to the research by Ovum. 

Let’s start with a statistic. Shall we?

Ad blocking is projected to cost publishers $75 billion US dollars by 2020, according to the research by Ovum. 

That’s just for the publishers in the adtech lumascape. Imagine what it will cost for the entire ecosystem. Having said that, publishers are literally struggling to build a lasting relationship with the users. And, with the constant pressure from the buy-side to better target the users, publishers’ battle to stay alive in the industry is becoming difficult.

So, dealing with the ad blockers is easier said than done. As an SSP who serve publishers across the globe, we’ve been able to study and come up with proven strategies to deal with the ad blockers. Let’s start.

Table of Content:

What is an Ad Blocker and How it Works?

Before diving in, here’s a quick refresher.

Ad blocker (also known as ad filter) is a program/software designed to block ads from appearing on a web page. In other words, they assist in removing any type of ad content (including but not limited to autoplay video ads, annoying pop-ups, and ads with countdown timers) on the websites as users surf the internet.

Mostly, they are easy to install plugins or browser extensions that work automatically and start blocking ads as soon as the user completes the installation. Besides, ad blockers can blacklist unwanted sites and ads across the web.

So, how does it work?

Blacklisting – At the webpage loading event, the ad blocker script checks the website’s script and compares it with the list of websites or scripts which are supposed to be blocked. If the script finds anything matching to the list, it blocks the same.

Ad Blocking – Typically, digital advertising comprises of demand-side platforms, supply-side platforms, ad exchanges, ad networks, etc. and all of them communicate with the publisher to serve personalized ads. They do so with the help of ad tags and scripts. Whenever a blocker detects the tag (from its predefined list), it simply prevents it from loading/calling the ad server.

Now, How Can a Publisher Deal with Ad Blockers?

We need to realize a fact. Users aren’t fed with the ads on the internet. But when they are bombarded with too many ads (pop-ups, intrusive), they decide to look out for a solution. And, the easiest one is an ad blocker. It is up to you to deliver a better experience so that the user won’t block the ads on your site.

Improve User Experience:

Sounds usual, isn’t it?

But, user experience doesn’t end with fast page loads and relevant content. It means analyzing how the user interacts with your content (including ads) and why they leave. You can break down the numbers from ad requests, timeout settings, etc to get more insights. For instance, when you deploy header bidding, it is essential to set an optimal timeout to ensure a seamless user experience.

Need any assistance with ad optimization, reach us.

Utilizing technology tools:

You can make use of services that help you redeem the revenue lost by ad blockers. The 3rd party technology detects ad blocker and tries to furnish the ads that are blocked. For instance, PageFair exclusively offers a similar solution for publishers.

Note: There are a lot of 3rd party services in the market and so, it is advisable to verify the vendor before partnering.

Deploying Paywalls:

One of the stronger and straightforward steps for any publisher is the set up a paywall/ ad block walls. It is possible with javascript to determine which user has installed ad blocker and instead of pleading the user to unblock; the deployed paywalls/ ad block walls either ask to whitelist the publisher site to access the content or ask for a premium amount to view the content.

Google Funding Choices

It works well for a premium and mid-market publishers. In addition, if your content is highly exclusive, regardless of the market share, you can reap great benefits from this strategy.

Requesting User to Whitelist:

You can make use of short messages that convince users to whitelist your website so that the ad blocker won’t affect the ads shown in any way.

There are two ways to do this:

  1. Offering a certain number of free articles (Like Medium, Wired, etc.) on a weekly or monthly basis and asking the user to whitelist for more.
  2. Subtly showing the message with the reason behind the ads. For instance, The Guardian requests users to contribute at the end of every blog post, you can use the same to request whitelisting.

Adaptive Advertising or Running Native Ads:

Since native ads go well with the content and blend well, it’ll assist you in bypassing the ad blocker. Native ads are well known for proving improved user experience though they are not as profitable as the display ads. But they are sure to be tried.

The easy way, the publishers can calculate the cost lost by ad blockers and try to revive the loss by displaying the native ad content.

Partnering With the Right Vendors:

Agreed. It doesn’t directly influence the ad blocking issue. But, when you know they’re responsible for the irrelevant ads showing on your site, you should take action. That’s why we partner with quality exchanges to deliver highly relevant ads on our publishers’ sites. Better ads result in a better experience. So, no need for ad blockers in the first place.

What’s Next?

The ad-blocking issue can’t be solved with just a step. You might need to experiment with one or more strategies shown above to get the desired results. And, removing 100% of the blockers is not just hard, it’s kinda impossible.

As a publisher, you need to make sure you have done whatever you could to improve the revenue. For more ad optimization tips and insights, subscribe to our weekly newsletter.

Automatad Team

At Automatad, we help publishers to monetize better without hampering the user experience. Our products are live across hundreds of publishers, earning them incremental ad revenue with every passing second. You can request a free audit to get an estimated revenue uplift today.

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