The Publisher Strikes Back: 5 Strategies for Combating Ad Blocking on Websites

Brian Blondy, November 1, 2015

Online publishers are faced up against ad-blocking apps that are removing display ads from a visitor’s view. As a result, the ever-growing presence of ad blocking software is sending the digital advertising ecosystem into a substantial crisis. Supporters of ad blocking software often remark that the apps increase website loading speed, decrease data consumption on mobile and reduce website design clutter.

businessman in boxing gloves on background
Are publishers ready to begin fighting ad blocking?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

While these points are correct, what is often ignored by users of ad blocking software and what is most centrally worrying for publishers.  Ad blocking software is diminishing online ad revenue meant to offset the cost of producing the content and the lack of ad revenue is beginning to limit the justification and expected financial yield meant to arrive from the content itself.

Backing this up, the financial effect of ad blocking applications is simply staggering.  Accordingly to an August 2015 joint industry report by PageFair and Adobe on the cost of ad blocking to online publishers, collectively websites stand to lose an estimated $22 billion USD in total revenue in 2015.  

At Total Media, we are certain that combating ad blocking apps (nearly 200M users worldwide and growing) appears to be a major trend to watch in order to see how publishers effectively respond to the ad revenue crisis in 2016.

Ben Erdos, Total Media’s VP of Publisher Technologies & Services says effectively combating ad blockers is quite a difficult thing to do for publishers. “Essentially, properly addressing ad blocking is question of time and resources for online publishers. Most publishers are currently focused on creating content rather than tactically adding tools to prevent content from being viewed by people using ad blocking software.”  

“Though we may be beginning to see a shift for 2016, whereas now the idea of combating ad blockers is quickly becoming a strategic concept that publishers are taking on because they see the decrease in ad revenue. So clearly that as the ad blocking system matures, the cost of premium media will presumably also increase (video, interactive content) as publishers take steps to addressing the phenomenon,” says Erdos.

Today we wanted to show five different strategies that have already been deployed by online publishers for addressing the users of ad blockers on their web browser. Clearly each of the five strategies addresses a different approach for responding to the ad blocking phenomenon. As you will see below within the range of concepts, there may be a distinct correlation between the overall aggressiveness of the chosen ad blocking strategy versus the total amount of web traffic that the site is receiving.  

Publishers with significant traffic may believe that have the unique luxury of completely gating their content because anyone that signs up for a subscription was their target audience anyways. Conversely, smaller publishers employing the same strategy may perhaps run the risk of alienating and sending away their more modest traffic numbers with an all or nothing approach when there are other publishers in the same space. Each publisher will have to experiment and decide which strategy works most effectively for their own unique audience.  

We fully expect to witness new and creative approaches to emerge in 2016 and we will continue to monitor and report about innovative hybrid approaches and techniques that will appear in the days to come.  

 

After you have looked over the strategies, which strategy do you think will result in the following:

  1. Lowest overall bounce rate? 
  2. Highest eCPM for ad units on the website in 2016?
  3. Most effective balance yielding publisher and website visitor satisfaction?

 

Strategy #1: The Membership Plan 

Sign up for a monthly/yearly subscription with the website in order to read all of the published content.

FinancialTimes.com

numberone 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Strategy #2: The Have It Your Way Approach

Pay 25 cents to consume the content now or choose to disable your ad blocking app and you can view the content with ads for free.

GQ.com

numbertwo 

 

 

 

 

 

Strategy #3: The Strings Attached Concept

Choose to sign up for the website’s newsletter now and then receive all of the website’s content for free going forward.

WashingtonPost.com

numberthree

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Strategy #4: The Quid Pro Quo Deal

Choose to disable your ad blocking software now and you will receive all of the website’s content for free going forward.

CityAM.com

numberfour 

 

 

 

 

 

Strategy #5:  The Altruism or Bust Strategy

Choose to disable your ad-blocking app because it’s the right thing to do, though regardless of what you decide, you are welcome to enjoy all of the content on the website!

Globes.co.il

numberfive

 

Dear Valued Visitor,

Our system has detected that you are using an ad-blocking application on your browser.

Ad blocking by you results in direct losses of advertising revenue to Globes.

Every day, Globes invests resources in order to bring you the latest and highest quality content which is most relevant to you.

We ask you to allow advertisements to be displayed and thus help us to enhance our operations and our freedom of expression related to maintaining a strong and democratic website.

Allow ads from Globes.

 

 

Brian Blondy is the Marketing Manager at Total Media.  You can contact Brian by email at brian@totalmediasolutions.com or on LinkedIn