What is an Ad Blocker? How to Deal with it?

Updated on: May 3, 2023
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?

The number of users using ad blockers is rising and in 2021, 27% of total internet users installed them (Src). There is no doubt, that ad blocker extensions/apps are a looming threat to digital publishers of all shapes, sizes, and niches. 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 a monetization partner that serves publishers across the globe, we’ve been able to study and come up with proven strategies to deal with ad blockers. Let’s start.

What is an ad blocker and how does it work?

Before diving in, here’s a quick refresher.

Ad blocker 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 on the websites. 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.

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 the list, it blocks the same.

Ad Blocking – Typically, digital advertising comprises 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.

Related Read: How Google Chrome’s built-in AdBlocker Impacts on the Digital Ecosystem?

How to identify if website visitors have installed ad blockers?

Since more and more people use ad-block software on their browsers, it is becoming increasingly important to know how many of your site visitors use such software so you can adapt accordingly. So, here’s a step-by-step tutorial on how to track ad-blocked users with the help of Google Analytics.

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 blockers 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 wall. 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.

It works well for 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.

Try the proven strategies to overcome the Ad-block issue

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:

  • 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.
  • 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 an improved user experience though they are not as profitable as 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.

Looking for more strategies? Here’s another guide on how to recover from ad blockers.

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.

Have any questions related to ad blocking? Leave a comment below and we’d be happy to help.

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