Adblock is getting more and more popular and that’s hurting publishers. But don’t worry, all is not lost. If you run your own site, there’s a few things you can do to try and tackle the impact adblockers have on your site’s revenue.
An Adblock Introduction
Adblockers are software tools that detect and block advertising from being displayed on websites. Usage has been growing significantly in recent years, rising by 41% globally between 2014 – 2015. And that increased usage translates to whole load of money: $21.8 billion in ad revenue last year, to be precise. And that’s likely to nearly double by the end of this year.
So, why do people use adblockers? Well, there’s a few reasons, but the two main ones are: to protect privacy and to improve their user experience. Also, many corporate networks have adblockers installed by default, meaning users couldn’t turn off their ad blockers, even if they wanted to.
So, what to do then? With sites losing, potentially, up to 50% of their revenue, it’s a pressing problem, with few very clear end scenarios, but there are still things you can try.
Ask The Audience
Adblockers have kind of become an “elephant in the room” type scenario: everybody knows there’s this huge, possibly incredibly destructive thing sat in the corner, but everyone’s trying to ignore it, hoping it’ll go away. Well, sorry, but that’s not likely to happen.
The first thing to try then is ask your users to disable their ad blockers. Try experimenting with different copy or different phrasing to see if there’s a tone that works better for you. What works will vary depending on your audience, with Millennials typically going for more humorous, irreverent copy.
And if you are going to be displaying ads to these people, make sure they’re as relevant as possible. The more relevant your ads, the less likely your readers are to block them after they’ve whitelisted you.
More and more big, online publishers, like 4OD in the UK will deny you access to certain content if you have an ad blocker enabled. Forbes will block you entirely if they detect an adblocker.
The way Forbes have gone about it is quite original; rather than just asking users to whitelist their site for access, they’ll reduce the number of ads displayed on their site (for 30 days) in exchange in what they call the Forbes “ad-light” experience.
This is an interesting angle to use, because it means that your giving the user in exchange for their actions, which is more likely to result in a positive outcome. It’s also, arguably, better than completely blocking access, because in terms of earning money, some ads are better than no ads.
If you don’t want to go as far as completely blocking access to your site, or the Forbes method, you could try asking them to subscribe to your newsletter, that way you have an asset, in the form of the their email address. After you get their address, you won’t be serving them ads, but you can still send them affiliated promotional offers that can potentially earn you money.
Make Them Pay
The other solution is, of course, making all users pay for access to your content. There are many ways you can do this. You could, for example, ask for a monthly subscription, a one-off payment, or even pay per article, using microtransactions.
As an example, the online edition of Wired has given readers the option of paying $1 per week for an ad free version of the site, while, at the same time, asking that readers turn off their adblockers.
Don’t Ignore Adblock
With all of this said, the key takeaway overall, is that you, as a site owner, shouldn’t ignore the adblock issue. How you choose to go about addressing it will largely be dictated by your audience. But you should ask your audience. Ask them to turn off their adblocker. If that doesn’t work, ask them what they would be willing to do in order to do so.
If that still doesn’t work, you can also get in touch with the adblocking software companies and ask to be whitelisted. Some of them will do this for nothing, provided your site meets certain requirements, others will ask for a fee. Which, at the end of the day is their business model. By and large, the creators of ad blocking software aren’t some kind of white knight, trying to make the internet a better place. They’re just looking to make some money.
If you want to try and gather some data on how adblock is impacting your site, there’s some useful articles out there to show you how to do just that. Although tackling adblockers is certainly a challenge, this certainly isn’t the death of online advertising. Just remember; reach out to your audience, keep them engaged and keep them happy. That is the key to success.
What are your experiences with adblocking on your site? What have you tried to tackle the issue? Let us know in the comments below!