Back in December, we answered the question: ‘What Are Ad blockers?’, and discussed how they impact online publishers. We concluded that, in order to stop ad blockers, publishers would need to adapt and look into monetising their sites without resorting to disruptive ads. In this follow-up article, we’ll explore how to stop ad blockers through a variety of techniques.
Adblock Plus has become one of the most popular free ad blocker extensions on Chrome and Firefox browsers in recent years, and Eyeo, the German company that produces the software, says it has been downloaded more than 300 million times worldwide and has more than 50 million monthly active users.
This makes one thing very clear: the uptake of ad blocker technology is rapidly growing. The impact on publishers is huge due to one main reason: most publishers focus on metrics such as revenue per visit and cost per 1,000 impressions (CPM). This approach drives publishers to maximise the number of ads served, overwhelming the user, interrupting their experience, and pushing them away. Due to the rapidly growing base of ad blockers, it is essential for marketers to keep their focus on high-quality, relevant content to improve the user experience across the spectrum of paid, owned, and earned media, to encourage users of ad blockers to whitelist their site.
Ad blockers have an impact on various marketing and publishing activities. However, digital marketers can avoid ad blockers with the help of advanced technology and customer data collection.
How Forbes stop ad blockers
When it comes to fighting ad blockers, some publishers have taken extraordinary measures. For example, Forbes has started blocking access to its site for some users of ad-blocking software. Visitors using desktop browser ad blockers will see an ad page before seeing the home page prompting them to disable their ad blocker software. Once disabled, users are then promised the “ad-light experience” for 30 days. Forbes said the effort was one of a series of tests it is undertaking to see if it can convince ad-block software users to whitelist the site, allowing the ads to load.
Segmenting high value customers is one of the main suggested solutions to avoid the dangers of ad blockers. People who are interested in the content and the brand itself should see advertisements that provide value. Data can help brands discover those customers, and understand what they want.
That said, here are a few ways digital marketers can use data to their advantage and encourage ad-block users to add their website to their whitelist.
1. Focus on consumer behaviour
To identify higher-value customers and deliver relevant experiences, you need to collect and integrate data from all sources to create a view of such elements as search history, shopping history, and web behaviours. Understanding behaviour-based actions supports the brand in engaging consumers in digital experiences for both prospecting and retargeting campaigns.
With the growing uptake of ad blockers, optimising content for every applicable channel using A/B testing has never been more essential. Testing needs to be done with highly refined customer segments. It is also critical to optimise native mobile apps as mobile is rapidly growing. This could be done by testing and mixing content in real-time to take advantage of conversion opportunities as they happen in the moment.
As publishers work to serve a better user experience, it’s possible to see an increase in mobile native advertising, which provides a more natural experience for users. Not only are native ads more immune to ad blockers, but when done well they perform better for advertisers. More than half of consumers click on native ads with the intention of purchasing something, compared with just 34% with traditional banner ads.
3. Think long-term value
Marketing technology now enables the marketer to combine data from online, off-site and offline sources. A holistic view of your customer – whether he or she is browsing Black Friday sales or looking for a specific product – will help the marketing team understand relevance as a driver of long term-relationships, measured as lifetime value.
Location-specific advertising, especially on mobile apps where advertisers can leverage mobile device IDs to track consumer behaviour and more accurate location data, is essential. Location-based advertising is the best form of moment advertising, as it shows a user’s exact location and serves relevant ads for nearby stores or restaurants based on a set of behavioural triggers that align with various “mobile moments”.
The key point of ads is to gain monetary value. However, due to ad blockers that is being lost. It’s worth thinking long term and look at how to gain valuable and loyal users who, if using ad blockers, will add you to their whitelist. If publishers can keep visitors coming back and, ideally, get them into their database, there are much greater monetisation opportunities down the road when the relationship and loyalty have already been established.
This shift toward smarter monetisation will require buy-in from advertisers and brands, which must be convinced of the longer-term value. This is where data comes in. Serving a better user experience on the first visit will likely result in increased member registration, which provides the richest consumer behaviour data available. Not only does registration allow publishers to track consumers across all screens, it also opens other channels of communication and remarketing, such as email, which remains one of the most effective marketing tools.
The conversation around ad blocking is unlikely to disappear anytime soon, so publishers that focus less on every visitor session and more on building user loyalty will win the battle, and get whitelisted. Through services that offer high user value, which can be monetised and provide a quality user experience, publishers will be at the top of the game.
Have you come across any stumbling blocks due to ad blocker technology? Let us know in the comments below or via social media. Don’t forget to sign up to the blog to receive articles straight to your inbox.