If you have a website you may have a love-hate relationship with ad blockers. As an individual browsing websites, you can understand the appeal of blocking ads that seem irrelevant at best, or intrusive at worst, or preventing websites from collecting and potentially selling your sensitive data.
Search a medical term for a sick friend or relative, for example, and you’re suddenly bombarded with ads for supplements or medicine to combat it. Ads can also be used to deliver malware that change your computer’s functionality and otherwise wreak havoc.
But as a publisher, you likely know how crucial ad revenue is to many websites. Users like free information and entertainment, and ads are often the fuel that make that possible. You may know from experience that if all the ads and tracking go away, many free websites– including ones you frequent– will likely no longer exist.
Anti adblock technology isn’t solely about fooling ad blockers so websites can show ads. Yes, protecting ad revenue is a main goal of many publishers that rely on it to pay the bills. But the best solutions will also help publishers deliver a better experience to site visitors while respecting their privacy choices.
What Is Adblock?
Adblock is one of the original tools developed to block ads on websites. It’s free and open-source, and adblock users can download versions for Chrome, Safari, Firefox and Microsoft Edge.
Adblock Plus (ABP) is another ad blocker not affiliated with the original Adblock. It is also a free open source web extension that can be used on the most popular browsers including Chrome, Firefox, Safari and Opera, Microsoft Edge. Other versions include Adblock Browser (Android and iOS) and Adblock Plus (Safari iOS).
When users install either Adblock or ABP, or other adblock software such as uBlock Origin or AdGuard, they will no longer see certain ads. Not all ads are blocked, as we will discuss in a moment, but most will be. These tools also help users protect their privacy when browsing online.
Why Is Adblock So Popular?
The Chrome webstore reports more than 10 million users of Adblock and an average rating of 4.5 stars. Adblock is popular for a three main reasons:
It works well
It’s highly rated
Many website visitors aren’t opposed to all ads. Instead they don’t want to see intrusive ads like flashy popups, or ads that interfere with the content they are trying to find. And most don’t want to be tracked without their consent. Tools that block ads can help them achieve their results.
There are other benefits to Adblocker. It can increase the speed at which web pages load (pagespeed) and can make the browsing experience less distracting. (The same thing can be said for ABP, as well as other add-ons such as GreaseMonkey and TamperMonkey that can be used to modify a website’s appearance.)
How Does Adblock Affect Website Owners?
Publishers may find their visitors aren’t seeing ads due to Adblocker or other tools, and this could result in a loss of crucial revenue. To bypass it, website owners may need to create ads that won’t be impacted by Adblock, use anti ad blocking tools, or create other revenue streams.
But annoying ads aren’t the only thing that may get blocked. Google Analytics tracking that many sites rely on may be blocked. They can block images and videos, registration pages, and even checkout and payment pages. That not only hurts publishers but may also result in a less than optimal user experience.
Adblock acknowledges that ads are an important source of revenue for advertisers, so it offers the Acceptable Ads program, which sets standards for ads that meet certain guidelines and are not intrusive or annoying. Ads that meet these standards can be placed on an “allowlist,” which means they can still be shown to ad-blocking users who have allowed Acceptable Ads.
Again, it’s still not a perfect solution as there are times when it may block legitimate website content.
What Is Anti-Adblock?
Anti adblock are tools that allow websites to show at least some ads, even if a visitor is using an ad blocking tool.
There are also anti adblock tools that can detect whether a user is using an ad blocker and convert moving image or video ads to Acceptable Ads that many ad blockers allow to be shown. This means the user has at least some control over the type of ad they will see. If they don’t use an ad blocker, the publisher can display the type of ad they find most effective, and if the use does use an ad blocker, the ad will be converted to one that is acceptable.
In addition to using anti-adblock solutions, there are other options to consider when it comes to combating ad blockers.
Consider getting approved through Acceptable Ads so your ads can be shown to users. You can either work with an Acceptable Ads consulted or get your ads whitelisted by adhering to specific standards and then going through the application process. The problem for publishers is that video and moving ads are not allowed. As Snigel points out, this can require a publisher to avoid higher-paying image ads in the Google Adsense program (or others) which can result in significant loss of revenue.
Another approach is to move away from advertising revenue and toward other monetization methods. Will your users pay for your content? Are there other ways to monetize, say through affiliate marketing? These options may be preferable, especially with the growth in popularity of ad blockers.
However, keep in mind that ad blockers may still block no-ad portions of your site such as moving images or videos and even checkout pages. It’s important to assess how they affect your website even if you don’t rely on ad revenue.
What Is The Best Anti-Adblock Tool?
Of the options available to publishers, diversifying your revenue so you don’t rely too heavily on ads can be a good long-term strategy. For example, you may try a mix of affiliate marketing, creating your own products to sell, sponsored content, and ads.
But the reality is some sites simply must rely on ad revenue either in part or for the majority of their revenue.
If you’re considering a tool to help combat ad blocking tools, you will want to consider ones that help your visitors retain control over their experience. If they don’t want to see flashing video ads, for example, then trying to bypass the ad blocker to show them that type of ad is only going to backfire. Using technology that respects user choice is always a better approach.
Here are several solutions to investigate:
Snigel AdEngine is a header bidding solution that incorporates an adblock revenue recovery tool. It will convert ads shown to users with ad blockers into Acceptable Ads.
Admiral VRM offers a number of Visitor Relationship Management solutions that may help you effectively recover adblock losses, including adblock detection, advanced analytics and adblock ad reinsertion.
Adpushup helps publishers with tools that include header bidding and pro-user reinsertion technology.
BlockAdblock offers free anti-adblock script publishers can use on their site.
Which Anti-Adblock Tool Should You Use?
First, it’s important to understand that ad block technology may impact your website even if you don’t rely on ads. It is a good idea to browse your site from a browser with Adblocker, ABP or other ad blocker browser extensions enabled so you can make sure your site isn’t inadvertently being impacted by ad blockers.
If you choose to use anti ad blocker technology, choose carefully. There may be legal risks that could cost more than any ad revenue you lose. And there is reputational risk as well. You certainly don’t want to alienate your users or create a backlash.
Make sure you are transparent about what you use and choose carefully. If you decide to try this kind of technology, you want to choose a solution that allows you to continue to deliver and monetize your content while maintaining a positive experience for your visitors.
There are no simple answers here. With the use of ad blockers continuing to grow, though, it will be even more important for publishers to explore and support solutions that help contribute to a better user experience while still allowing businesses to bring in enough revenue to sustain and grow their businesses.