6 Steps Publishers Can Take to Fight Ad Blockers

Kean Graham, founder & CEO of MonetizeMore
Marketing News
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Key Takeaways

​What? Ad blockers have become nearly omnipresent, but Kean Graham, founder & CEO MonetizeMore, believes publishers can fight back.

So what? Publishers lost $3.8 billion in digital ad revenue due to ad blockers in 2016; they’re predicted to lose $12 billion in 2020. This wound cannot be left to bleed. 

Now what? Graham writes that publishers should understand why visitors use ad blockers, can ask to be whitelisted and consider using paywalls or native ads. 

​Nov. 30, 2017

Publishers are predicted to lose $12 billion from ad blockers by 2020. How can they buck this trend and find more revenue? 


Online publishers are fighting a high-stakes battle against ad blockers. So far, the future looks dim for publishers who monetize their websites with display ads, especially as ad blockers continue to grow. 

Media Post reports staggering revenue loss numbers: Publishers lost $3.8 billion in digital ad income in 2016 alone. If that wasn't enough, losses are projected to increase to roughly $12 billion in 2020. 

It’s impossible for publishers to eradicate ad blockers, but there are ways that publishers can avoid losing their digital income. While there’s no cookie-cutter fix—some solutions are very tech​nical, others may achieve different results for different businesses—all solutions are worth testing, and all will require some work on the publisher's end. Publishers must think creatively and perhaps step on a few website visitor’s toes.

However, toe-stepping is not necessary every time. One creative solution that worked for Forbes.com allowed the publisher to get on more than 4 million visitors' whitelists, which means they convinced these visitors to turn off their ad blockers, thereby creating millions of ad impressions and millions of ad dollars. 

Publishers should consider the following options:

1. Understand Why Visitors Are Using Ad Blockers, and Adjust Strategy

Before publishers try to solve the ad-blocker problem, they should first determine why website visitors are installing ad blockers. Research by PageFair shows that users have ad blockers installed for a few compelling reasons: fear of data being stolen, annoyance with interrupting ads and impatience with slow website load times. With each of these reasons, publishers have options to assure visitors that they’re doing their best to keep visitors’ interests at heart. 

First, publishers should ensure their website is running on HTTPS—or Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure, the more secure way to send data online—and should tell visitors what type of information the website will collect. Then, publishers should test the website’s loading speed against industry standards and improve it by enabling data caches and getting dedicated hosting. 

Publishers should only show ads approved by the IAB to avoid being annoying. They can also speed up their website by increasing the website’s user experience and testing a lighter ad page layout.


 What is Adblock?


2. Whitelisting

One simple way to get visitors to see ads: Ask them to whitelist the website, just as Forbes did. Publishers asking visitors to whitelist their site should keep messages short, and write in language that visitors will understand. 

Some users might not agree to whitelist your site at first, so be sure to give them more than one chance to whitelist by asking every so often. Publishers can take many smart approaches to gently remind visitors to whitelist, including a reminder of how often they consume content on your site and how ads help pay for the content they read. 

3. Pay Walls and Subscription Services

There are many approaches to pay wall and subscription services. Some premium publishers allow users to read a section of their website for free while charging a fee for other sections. Another approach—reportedly tested by the Financial Times—is to send visitors messages saying that the publisher only allows visitors who use ad-blockers to see only one-third of the website’s content. 

Other websites, such as Business Insider, completely prevent users from reading articles unless the users join the website’s subscription-based service on a discounted trial period or turn off their ad blocker.

4. Native Ads

Native ads can blend in with a website’s content and bypass ad blockers most of the time. A publisher’s native ads will show even if their regular display ads are blocked. 

Native ads promote editorial content and often improve the user’s experience. These ads aren’t usually as profitable as display advertising, but they’re worth trying. Many native ad networks exist: Networks such as Taboola, Outbrain and RevContent are at the top of the list.

5. Consider Different Ways to Monetize Content

The ad-blocker issue isn't going away soon; publishers will always be fighting against ad blockers. Instead of banging their heads against a wall, publishers can consider opening their website to other methods of monetization. Publishers can focus on e-commerce, affiliate marketing or selling branded content campaigns as alternatives to advertisements. 

6. Ad Technology Services

A few services exist that help publishers bypass ad blockers; one is PageFair.​ This smart ad tech company uses its proprietary technology to detect ad-blocker users and attempts to serve unblockable ads. 

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Author Bio:

Kean Graham, founder & CEO of MonetizeMore
Kean Graham is the founder & CEO of MonetizeMore, http://www.monetizemore.com
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