Ad Blocking Survival Guide - Introduction

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Ad Blocking SurvivalAd Blocking and the State of Online Advertising


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A recent report compiled by Adobe and PageFair suggests that almost 200 million people now use an ad blocker when browsing the internet, a 41% increase over the preceding 12 month period. This widespread use of ad blocking technology is expected to result in over $20 billion in lost advertising revenue in 2016 alone.

Despite the magnitude of these numbers, the threat of ad blocking is largely an invisible threat to the average web publisher. Unless steps are taken to assess the impact of ad blocking on an individual website, the only sign that ad blocking is an issue is likely to be a decline in advertising revenue. Given that ad revenue tends to fluctuate for a variety of reasons, even this metric can be misleading. Ad blocking is certainly far from the only challenge faced by web publishers today. The good news, however, is that ad blocking is one of the few areas where web publishers have some control over how to respond to the issue. We can’t cure ad blindness, stop ad budgets migrating to Facebook, and whatever is causing revenues from Google AdSense advertising to decline is far beyond our control. What we do control is our own websites and, by extension, how we react to, communicate with and respond to visitors using ad blocking is entirely up to us.

While there is no “one size fits all” solution, the goal of this book is to outline a range of proven strategies designed not only to detect, quantify and mitigate the threat of ad blocking, but also to move beyond advertising as a sole source of revenue.

The chapters in this book cover a variety of options ranging from passive measuring of ad blocking behavior to the more aggressive step of denying access to those visitors using an ad blocker. While no particular strategy is recommended over another, the inherent risks of a particular option are outlined where necessary so that an informed decision can be made about whether the strategy is right for your situation.

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Taking a Measured Approach

To a large extent, the issue of ad blocking has evolved into a technological arms race that has already spawned counter-measures with names such as “anti-ad blocker”, “anti anti-ad blocker” and “anti-ad blocker killer”. When considering the strategies in this book, it is important to keep in mind that users have installed ad blockers because they do not want distracting and invasive ads on the sites that they like to visit. As web publishers we have a responsibility to respect this point of view and avoid further fueling the arms race by rushing to adopt the most extreme ad blocking counter-measures. Statistics suggest, for example, that many website visitors will willingly whitelist a website if reasonably requested to do so as long as the content is valuable to them and the ad experience does not impose too great a burden.

While there is no certainty that we will ever reach the point where everyone is blocking ads, we also have an obligation to avoid driving the next 200 million people to install an ad blocker. As part of the process of handling ad blocking, take time to reevaluate the quantity, quality and placement of advertisements on your site with a view to improving the overall visitor experience.

As we hope you will come to appreciate as you read this book, ad blocking survival is a rich and diverse discipline that goes far beyond simply finding ways to make visitors view the same type of ads they have already indicated they do not wish to see.

You are currently reading the online edition of this book.

Purchase this Ad Blocking Survival Guide book in eBook ($19.99) or Print ($25.99) format.

Buy eBook Buy Print Preview Book



PreviousTable of ContentsNext
Ad Blocking SurvivalAd Blocking and the State of Online Advertising