As a publisher, you face diminishing returns as you try to optimize your ad revenue. The best way is to drive more traffic, but that’s easier said than done. As you’re about to learn, finding new visitors may not be necessary. The truth is that up to 50% of your ad impressions are being lost. These are the ad blockers, and they’re invisible to your ad server. We’re here to teach you how to reach them.
Your Hidden Audience
Plain and simple, adblocking software stops ads from displaying on web pages. While studies have shown that intrusive advertisements create negative connotations towards online advertising, the implications of adblocking often go unnoticed by publishers. When an ad is blocked, an impression is never counted on your ad server. This leads to misleading and inconsistent data from website analytics and ad servers. More importantly- blocked impressions mean lost ad revenue.
Adblock users are not the same as your other visitors; they’ve clearly expressed that they don’t like intrusive ads. This attitude towards online advertising presents new challenges as well as opportunities for publishers to reach out to their hidden visitors.
Can You Stop Ad Blocking?
The most commonly tried approach is to appeal to these visitors. An on-screen message informs them about the financial implications of blocking ads, and asks them to support the site. One notable example of this approach is OK Cupid, who asked adblockers to donate $5 for a legitimate ad-free experience on their site. This approach recognizes that adblock users want to avoid ads. (You can try this approach right now for free, using our product PageFair).
— Adblock Plus (@AdblockPlus) May 14, 2013
More recently a group of German newspapers made a joint appeal to ad blockers to ‘whitelist’ (allow ads on) their sites, but they failed to change their ad content for these visitors. They showed the same intrusive ads to users who whitelisted, causing a large backlash from the community. The intrusive nature of their ads triggered users to re-enable adblock.
One blogger, Andrew Sullivan of The Daily Dish, announced earlier this year that he would forego ads and instead generate revenue through a paywall. While some were skeptical at first, his approach seems to be working, bringing in 2/3rds of his $900k goal for the year in just two months. However, this probably isn’t a sustainable alternative. Paywalls may work for some sites, but not for those containing content that can easily be found elsewhere.
Some websites have tried the extreme step of blocking website access for users of adblock- an ‘adblock wall’. The most noteworthy application of this approach has been Arstechnica hiding content, but with little success. Visitors simply choose to go elsewhere.
Take Control: Engage with Ad Blockers
With new technology comes a new type of consumer. Adblock users are a significant, growing contingent of your website visitors. There are multiple ways to engage them, but we need to appreciate and respect their motivation for blocking ads in order to harness their value to the site.
Showing appeals, testing their effectiveness, and educating your visitors are all services we offer at PageFair. You can customize the message to your users and learn what appeals to them. But keep in mind that if we continue to show intrusive ads to these visitors, then they will continue to block ads and in turn, remain hidden.
Start accessing these hidden visitors with our free analysis.
PageFair offers services to measure how much ad blocking is costing you, as well as educating your visitors on the repercussions of ad blocking.