Ad Block Recovery Guide for Publishers 

Reading time: 9 minutes

Ad block revenue recovery has been one of the hottest topics in the digital advertising industry over the past few years. What’s the point of running an ad-based business if people are simply blocking your ads, denying you ad revenue? As a publisher[16], running such a business on losses can be frustrating. 

You end up testing every theory you find online on ad block revenue recovery, and it can be challenging to find a viable solution. In the worst-case scenario, you might fall victim to solutions that aren’t specifically tailored to help your case.

This ad block recovery guide will walk you through some of the steps you need to take to ensure that your business stays afloat, whether your audience is using ad blocking[5] software or not. Let’s get started!

What Is an Ad Blocker?

An ad blocker is a software designed to prevent ads from appearing on a user’s screen when they visit your website. They are good at blocking banner ads[6], pop-ups, video ads[17], and other types of advertising and tracking technology. The most common ad blockers include AdBlock Plus, uBlock Origin, Ghostery, and AdGuard Pro. AdTrap and PiHole are hardware device ad blockers.

Ad blockers are usually made as browser extensions, plugins, or standalone software, and some are sold as hardware devices. Some web browsers like Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox come with pre-existing ad blocking features, with VPNs also joining in on the fight against unnecessary ads.

Why Do People Use Ad Block Technology?

A recent report by Statista indicates that around 37% of global internet users use ad blockers. According to the report, 34% of internet users in the United States also use ad blockers, while a similar report suggests that Canada has the highest demand for ad blockers in North America.

These worrying figures show how ad blockers have been gaining popularity over the last decade, much to the worry of the advertising industry. This begs the question, why do people use ad blockers?

Whether it’s for privacy reasons or just to avoid spammy content, there are many reasons why someone might choose to use an ad blocker. The most common reasons users block ads on their devices are: 

  1. Privacy Protection – Some ads are designed to track your web browsing habits and target you with personalized ads. This is considered a privacy violation by many people, so they use ad blockers to prevent this from happening. 
  2. To Improve Page Loading TimesSynchronous[7] ads are designed to load simultaneously with your web page. When technical issues happen, it can make the webpage load slower or fail to load altogether. 
  3. Protection From Malware – Unbeknown to the publisher, some ads, which don’t meet the acceptable ad standards, may contain malicious software.
  4. To Save Bandwidth and Data – Some ads, especially video ads, consume a lot of bandwidth and data, a scenario that your visitors are trying to avoid.
  5. To Save Money – Some ad blocker users may feel like they do too much impulse buying from targeted ads and that blocking them is the best course of action.

How Does Ad Block Technology Work?

The answer lies in its name. Most online advertisements are served by third-party ad servers[8] that host ads on Web pages. When a visitor[18] visits a page with paid ads, these servers communicate with each other to provide and show relevant ads based on past interactions with visitors. 

When an ad blocker is in place, it listens to your network using a filter list, such as EasyList, that targets specific keywords, advertising domains, or servers. If it comes across a request to a known ad domain, it cuts communication, successfully blocking the ad.

Ad blockers achieve this in three different ways:

  1. Blocking HTTP Calls – Ad tags are the snippets of code used to display advertising[9] on a website. The codes contain information such as the advertiser[10], the ad size, and the ad creative[19]. Most of these ad tags are coded in JavaScript since it’s used by at least 97% of websites.

    Since the ad blocker can identify JavaScript ad tags, it monitors the HTTP calls made from your website to an ad tag[20]. When it identifies any JavaScript ad tag from a third party[11] that relates to advertising, it blocks the ad serving process. This prevents the ad creative from loading, and you lose potential income on that impression[12].
  2. CSS Element Hiding – If you decide to be smart about your paid ads and use your servers to display native ads[13], ad blockers can still identify them. CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) is a popular style sheet language used for describing the presentation of a document written in a markup language. A style sheet is a collection of rules that tells a web browser how to display a document written in HTML or XML.

    CSS is used to style all HTML tags and the displays of table elements, grid elements, and images, or in this case, your native ad banner. By using a CSS filter, ad blockers are able to search through your website’s stylesheet for CSS display filters that are related to advertising. Since the ad block user’s stylesheets are more important, according to the ad block, they overwrite your website’s CSS with a rule to hide the elements containing ads.

The result is that the native ad is blocked from the user’s end. Though it has loaded and you will get paid for the advertising, it hasn’t been viewed.

  1. Removing Page Elements – When enabled, other ad blockers will completely remove certain elements from web pages that are considered to be ads. This means you end up losing potential income on ad revenue because the ad does not load. 

How Does Ad Blocking Affect Your Website?

Ad blocking causes harm to publishers since it may be a primary source of income or one of many. And while ad blockers promise efficiency and privacy to their users, it’s not promised.

A few of the most obvious ad blocking drawbacks are: 

  • May Result in Negative User Experience – Ad blockers can greatly interfere with your site’s setup, disabling crucial functionalities. In addition, since some ad blockers won’t replace the blocked ad content, to your visitor, your page will appear to have missing parts or even display error messages. In some cases, the ad block may block DMCA copyright control, cookie[21] policies, and order[22] tracking services and may even lead to missing CTAs.
  • Ad Blockers Interfere with Analytics – Ad blockers can block cookies from being set, meaning that you won’t be able to track any activity from that user. They can also prevent tags from firing, which blocks events such as page views and clicks from being recorded. 

Generally, by blocking the loading of certain scripts, such as those used by analytics tools like Google Analytics[1], ad blockers interfere with data collection. If ad blockers are not taken into account, this can lead to inaccurate data about website traffic and user behavior. 

  • Lost Ad Revenue – This is the most significant negative impact on a publisher’s website. It’s estimated that ad blocking costs advertisers billions of dollars every year. 

Most publishers earn revenue by selling advertising space to advertisers who want to display their products or services in front of an audience. They then count on their web traffic for impressions and conversions. However, when ad blocking is involved, this greatly reduces these metrics, and you end up earning less than you should.

The lost ad revenue gravely affects small publications since most of them count on it to fund their content creation, such as hiring writers and journalists to create stories for readers and video content for viewers. 

Ways to Recover Your Ad Blocked Revenue

As a primary source of income for many publishers, loss of ad revenue brings a host of challenges and may even lead to site closure when your pockets run dry. This is why it’s recommended that you have a solid plan to find your way around ad blockers, publish the content your visitors appreciate, and still get paid for your work.

Below are the six ways to help you recover your ad blocked revenue:

  • Whitelisting or Allowlisting – This is the easiest way to bypass ad blockers and regain lost ad traffic. When your site detects ad blockers, you encourage them to whitelist your site or turn off ad blockers so they can continue viewing your content.

The result is that you get back on track with advertising revenue without breaking a sweat. Some people will still choose not to turn off their ad blockers, but this has been proven to be an effective strategy.

  • Google’s Consent Management Platform(CMP) – Also known as Funding Choices, this tool works to persuade users to disable ad blocking and ask for their consent to use cookies and other tracking technologies. Once the user grants consent, CMP works with Google Ads to interpret user consent and deliver personalized ads. 

The displayed ads have to meet the Transparency[14] and Consent Framework(TCF) requirements of data protection and privacy regulatory bodies, such as the EU General Data Protection Regulation[2] (GDPR), Interactive Advertising Bureau[3] Europe (IAB), and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA)[4].

This method will allow you to keep displaying ads, provided they don’t violate the user’s consent. By working with an IAB-approved CMP Ad Ops[15] partner like us, we guarantee to deliver ads that strictly meet these requirements.

  • Branded Content – As a publisher, you can use your website to give sponsored content that relates to your niche and that which your visitors can identify with. The content you produce should blend seamlessly with the ad to serve you and the advertiser without coming across as a cheap marketing campaign[23]. The main goal of branded content is to get the visitors to engage with the advertiser’s brand.
  • Paid Subscriptions – If you’re looking for a surefire way to make up for lost ad revenue, consider implementing a paid subscription model on your website. This can be a great option for sites that offer unique content or services that are worth paying for. Not only will you be able to recoup your losses, but you may also find that you have a whole new group of loyal, paying fans! 

Paid subscriptions are especially popular with media and blog websites that provide high-quality content. This is a good option if you need more than just the occasional subscriber. Plus, it helps keep customers from leaving your site because they’ve run out of articles to read. 

The best way to turn your viewers into subscribers is through paywalls. A paywall is a system used to restrict content viewing to a select group of viewers only. Once a visitor comes to your website, a paywall prompts them to subscribe or log into their subscriber account.

  • Acceptable Ads Program – There’s no doubt that ad blocking is a huge problem for the online advertising industry. And constantly fighting ad blockers presents more problems than solutions. As a result, the only solution is to face the problem head-on. Since one of the major reasons for ad blocking is annoying or invasive ads, it’s better to set quality standards for ad delivery. 

Since 2011, efforts have been made by Eyeo GmbH to provide a platform where both publishers and AdBlock users mutually benefit from each other. Eyeo started the Acceptable Ads initiative to provide a way for publishers to generate ad revenue by strictly having their ads meet certain ad elements criteria.

This method has proved to be effective as Statista reports high adoption of Acceptable Ads by publishers. You can also take advantage of this strategy as well by partnering with an Acceptable Ads provider like Blockthrough.

In Summary

Ad blockers contribute to billions of lost ad revenue for publishers and marketers. Without a proper monetization and work-around strategy, you might soon be out of business. While all of the tips listed in this guide are bound to work for any publisher, the best solution is to use Acceptable Ads or work with a solution that partners with Acceptable Ads. Using Acceptable Ads will eliminate the constant worry of invisible traffic, and you will end up monetizing on both ad block users and non-users.

Interested in learning more about Ad Blocking? Read about How to Reduce Ad Blocking with the Ad Experience Report or How to Track Ad Block Users Via Google Analytics.

Terms
1. Google Analytics. This is Google’s traffic tracking and analytics tool that gives publishers insight into traffic origins, popular pages on their website and much more.
2. General Data Protection Regulation. GDPR which is also known as the General Data Protection Regulation is a set of personal data regulations created for EU citizens. It changes the way businesses stores and collects data from its users from the EU.
3. Interactive Advertising Bureau. The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) empowers the media and marketing industries to thrive in the digital economy. Its membership is comprised of more than 650 leading media companies, brands, and the technology firms responsible for selling, delivering and optimizing digital ad marketing campaigns. The trade group fields critical research on interactive advertising, while also educating brands, agencies, and the wider business community on the importance of digital marketing. In affiliation with the IAB Tech Lab, IAB develops technical standards and solutions. IAB is committed to professional development and elevating the knowledge, skills, expertise, and diversity of the workforce across the industry. Through the work of its public policy office in Washington, D.C., the trade association advocates for its members and promotes the value of the interactive advertising industry to legislators and policymakers. Founded in 1996, IAB is headquartered in New York City.
4. California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA). A California law that provides residents to know what data is being collected about them, where/if it is sold, the right of refusal, personal data access, data deletion and anti-discrimination. Any business that conducts business with California residents must adhere to this law.
5. ad blocking. Ad blocking is the process of using software that blocks ads from displaying. Ad blocking software is available for most browsers and internet-enabled devices on either desktop or mobile.

Recent Articles

Stay connected

Don't miss out on the latest news, events and special announcements.

By submitting this form, you agree that you've read and accept our Privacy Policy as well as to receive communications from HeaderBidding.com. You may unsubscribe at any time.

Related Articles

Leave A Reply

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Stay connected

Don't miss out on the latest news, events and special announcements.

By submitting this form, you agree that you've read and accept our Privacy Policy as well as to receive communications from HeaderBidding.com. You may unsubscribe at any time.