Adblock has caused significant revenue losses to online publishers for a decade, with the current US adblocking rate averaging 26% and EU exceeding 30%. The revenue impact is in the tens of billions. So naturally, publishers are eager to find solutions to mitigate the losses, recover lost ad revenue, and reduce the impact of adblockers on their websites.
By honing in on adblock revenue recovery, you can do just that — and as a result, increase revenues, maximize average revenue per visitor (ARPV), and build more stable and sustainable first-party relationshis with your best visitors.
This guide is divided into four sections:
- What is adblock?
- What is the impact of adblocking on publishers?
- What is adblock recovery?
- Strategies and tips to implement adblock recovery
Additionally, the guide answers common questions about adblock technology, impact & measurement, user motivations, allowlists, and ad reinsertion.
What is adblock?
Adblock is a software solution to prevent advertisements from downloading or appearing on web pages. Adblock solutions can be a browser extension, built-in to the browser, or a stand-alone application. Some adblockers stop specific types of ads deemed annoying, such as pop-up ads or auto-playing videos. Other adblockers block anything designated as an ad, and many block source code for tracking, cookies, and some third party scripts. Some adblock solutions even replace existing page ads with alternative ads deemed “acceptable”.
The lines are blurring between ad blockers and tracking blockers, with some blockers focused on each category and some blockers promising it all. Many tracking blockers also block ads but do not disclose that. Sometimes this category is referred to more broadly as content blockers, since many blockers can be configured to block diverse types of content — unrelated to ads or trackers -- based upon the filter rules used.
How effective is adblock technology?
Adblock software can be very effective at circumventing ads and more. Many of the most popular adblockers have been tested by review sites, and found effective at blocking most ads on webpages. Some also block ads in apps, or in videos. However, generally adblockers are only as effective as the filter rules selected by the adblock user.
In some cases adblockers are “too effective” at blocking content, essentially breaking websites by blocking things that are not ads — including forms, login, paywalls, site analytics, subscriber content and more. There are few, if any, published standards for what constitutes an ad, tracker or other categories of blocked content. Instead, adblock forums, github issues/comments and many behind-the-scenes requests are made, resulting in filters breaking websites without notice or explanation.
In fact, in some cases filter list authors know they are breaking websites — even circumventing copyright access control in violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) — yet they refuse to remove offending filter rules. This can create a bad experience for users who cannot operate sites properly, damage publishers who cannot protect their copyrighted content from unauthorized access, and even create legal liability for filter authors and adblock companies that distribute access control circumvention filters.
How many people use adblock?
Worldwide estimates of the adblock user base exceeds 600M desktop and mobile devices. According to Statista, the average global adblocking rate is 28%, with a high in Greece of 42%. eMarketer reports steady year-over-year growth of adblockers in the US, with an estimated 75.4 million US adblock users. Desktop adblock rates range anywhere from 10% to 70% depending upon country and site demographics. Mobile adblock rates are much lower, usually less than 10% in the US/EU — but mobile adoption is growing at a faster rate than desktop.
Interestingly, many adblock users didn’t install their own adblocker or don’t even realize they are blocking ads. A survey of adblockers by Admiral found that as much as 70% of adblock users either didn’t realize they had a blocker or didn’t install their own adblocker. That suggests that a large chunk of blockers are not wedded to their blockers and are willing to allow ads for sites they enjoy.
Why do people use adblock?
Here are some of the top reasons people choose to use an adblocker:
- Annoying or intrusive ads, such as pop-up ads.
- Ads that interrupt what the user wants to do on the page, such as auto-playing video ads.
- Security and privacy concerns, especially due to the 3rd party origin of most ads.
- Concerns about page load times or bandwidth usage due to loading ads on a page.
A survey of 5000 adblock users also found that 68% of adblockers didn’t turn on or install their adblock software, and 10% didn’t even know they had adblock software running. This suggests that most adblock users are not militant about the topic — they didn’t even install their own blocker — and thus might disable for websites that focus on quality ad experiences and ask respectfully.
What are the different types of adblockers?
- Browser Features - Most popular desktop and mobile browsers, including Chrome, Safari, Opera, Firefox, and Edge, offer adblocking and tracking blocking options. Pop-up ad blocking is pretty universal, and Firefox has begun defaulting ad blocking to ‘on’ for some new users.
- Browser Extensions - Most of the popular adblock vendors have browser extensions to check lists and implement filter rules that the user can customize.
- Desktop Applications - Although not nearly as popular, there are downloadable desktop adblock applications that can block ads on multiple browsers at once. They tend to be resource heavy, and not free.
- VPN’s with Adblockers - Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) are strong on privacy, and some have bundled in adblockers to be a one-stop shop. You typically can’t use the adblocker independently of the VPN features, and they require a paid subscription.
- DNS Level Adblocking - With some IT savvy, adblocking can be added at the DNS level to manage all devices at the location, and can stop all advertisements from loading. AdGuard, Pi-hole, and AB-Solution all offer DNS adblocking solutions.
What is the difference between adblockers, tracking blockers, and privacy blockers?
The lines continue to blur greatly between the meaning of privacy, tracking, and ad blockers, but each type of blocker has a core objective. Adblockers focus on preventing ads from displaying, tracking blockers focus on preventing the tracking and recording a user’s online activity, and privacy blockers are focused on third-party requests, cookies, and scripts. For more information, see this tracking definition blog post.
What are the most common adblockers?
Adblock Plus and AdBlock account for the majority of adblock market share -- possibly 70-80% directly or indirectly -- but some of the most common adblock browser extensions include:
The following sources all provide best adblocker recommendations lists for end users. To varying degrees, they consider availability, setup, features, install base, update frequency, and more:
All of the most popular browsers have their own built-in adblock functionality, including Chrome adblocking, Firefox, Opera, Safari, IE and Edge, but their level of blocking varies. Google Chrome blocked 3 billion ads in 2019.
What are the most common adblock features?
- Blocking ads - Blocking the most annoying ads, such as pop-ups, autoplay video ads, pop-unders, and flash distracting banners.
- Disable tracking - The ability to disable tracking and browse the web more anonymously.
- Blocking domains - The ability to block specific domains and websites suspected of malware, and manage these ‘blocklists’.
- Allowlist/Whitelist websites - The ability to select specific websites or domains to allow ads from, while maintaining adblocking on all other sites.
- Disable social sharing buttons - Social buttons are common next to articles and blog posts. Some adblockers can disable the connection to the social platform.
- Serving ads - Many of the largest adblockers grow revenues by serving a limited version of ads to adblocker users, for which the adblock company gets a percentage of the publishers ad revenue.
- Element blockers - The ability to block specific elements from loading or functioning on a website, such as large media elements, 3rd party fonts, or scripts.
How do adblockers work?
Adblock software is usually made up of at least two separate pieces of code: Filter Lists and Blockers
- What is a filter list? A list of rules for what elements of a webpage should be blocked or hidden. There are many different filter lists, stand alone or built into browser settings.
- What is EasyList?
It is the most popular list used by many ad blockers and forms the basis of more than a dozen combination and supplementary filter lists https://easylist.to/
- What is EasyPrivacy?
EasyPrivacy is a supplementary filter list intended to block tracking scripts, but it also contains many filters that break non-tracking site functionality and could create legal liability for copyright access control circumvention. Some blockers distribute it by default and others distribute it based upon blocker configuration, but in either case the blockers distribute regularly based upon list update cycles.
- What is EasyList?
- What is a blocker? Software that integrates filter lists to specifically block, hide or replace content as configured in the list or the adblocker settings.
EasyList is hosted on GitHub and updated in real-time by approved filter list authors. Just one section of EasyList focused on blocking ad server calls (easylist_adservers.txt) is over 16,000 lines long, and another section focused on hiding on-page content (easylist_general_hide.txt is over 20,000 lines long.
Each adblock solution is slightly different, but a couple of the primary ways they work is by blocking calls to specific ad-related servers, or hiding specific ad-related elements on a page. Additionally, they offer users customization options to only block specific types of ads.
Blocking ad resources: This approach prevents a webpage from fully executing scripts that reference ad delivery or targeting resources called from 3rd party servers. When a page is loaded by the browser, an adblock application reads the webpage scripts, identifies the calls for ad-related resources, then compares those locations with a list of web addresses to block, (EasyList is the most common block list). When there’s a match, it blocks those assets from being called to complete the ad delivery process.
Hiding elements: Adblockers can be set to focus on specific page style source code which contains ads, and hide those elements from displaying on the page.
Do adblockers block all ads?
In theory yes, some adblockers can block all ads and most are pretty effective. Many claim to be able to block all ads, however, adblocking technology is still a game of cat and mouse with anti-adblock technology. Constant innovation can result in some ads being seen, until the adblock company releases a new version. Attempts to force ads on users often cost publishers more time and money then they recover, plus forcing ads on visitors without consent hurts UX and publisher-visitor relationships. Lastly, much of the control for what type of ads are blocked is dependent on user choices and settings.
For publishers with the resources to serve their own sponsored stories using the same system and domain as they use for content, many adblockers may not work by default. Buzzfeed is an example of this, with the same writers working on the sponsored article, and the article served from their own content publishing system.
Additionally, blockers that have Acceptable Ads turned on by default (i.e. Adblock Plus), will show ads that adhere to standards, in exchange for a cut of publisher revenue.
Is adblocking illegal?
The jury is still out on whether adblocking is legal or not, but multiple legal theories have been put forth by publishers and adblockers. Adblockers argue they are simply an agent of a consumer, doing the same things a consumer would be allowed to do themselves. Some publishers have argued theories of unfair competition, business interference, copyright and more to suggest that blockers cannot block ads, or at least cannot profit from blocking ads by showing alternative ads or forcing publishers to pay for unblocking or "acceptable ads".
Most cases so far have been brought in the EU, with a series of cases by Axel Springer ending with mixed outcomes. Courts sided with adblockers in multiple decisions on the topic of unfair competition, but have been friendlier to publisher copyright arguments. In fact, the world’s largest adblocking company EyeO, was ordered to stop circumventing Axel Springer’s efforts to protect access to their copyrighted content on Bild.de — even requiring EyeO to remove filter list entries and public postings that described how to circumvent Bild.de copyright access control measures. Copyright disputes regarding adblock are ongoing, including the question of whether modifying copyrighted website code creates illegal, unlicensed derivative works.
The requirement for anti-circumvention laws was first globalized in 1996 with the creation of the World Intellectual Property Organization's Copyright Treaty. Admiral was the first company to create a copyright access control platform specifically for digital publishers, based upon the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, Article 6 of European Directive 2001/29/EC, and related global anti-circumvention laws. Representatives of the world’s largest adblock filter list, EasyList, have publicly stated that EasyList will not add filters that circumvent Admiral’s copyright access control platform and will remove circumvention filters if they exist.
Lastly, Senator Ron Wyden has urged the FTC to investigate the legality of adblockers showing ads and how companies like Google have been able to buy unique treatment for their ads by the blockers.
What is the impact of adblock on website publishers?
Adblock impacts publishers in multiple ways: reducing revenue, breaking site functionality, distorting site analytics, and breaking 3rd-party data connections that helped publishers fund more content with fewer ads.
Some adblock users may think that sites do not lose revenue because the user “never clicked on ads anyway”. That makes a faulty assumption that publishers are only compensated when ads are clicked via pay-per-click (PPC) revenue models. Most digital publishers sell ads on a cost-per-thousand impressions (CPM) basis, so every lost impression results in lost revenue. That assumption also ignores that adblock users as a whole are some of the most active Internet users and click on all parts of pages — even ads — more than the average Internet user.
The amount of revenue digital publishers lose due to adblockers has been estimated at over $20 billion per year.
- Loss of ad revenue from 20-30% fewer ads viewed, and lower CPMs overall
- Adblock code can interfere with web traffic analytics code, resulting in inaccurate data for publishers
- Many publishers are rethinking their ad quantity, type, and placement to reduce annoyance.
- With the blocking of 3rd party trackers for targeting, first-party data about users becomes more important. User profiles or a user registration process will increase to compensate for the loss of third-party data for ad targeting
- Adblock losses are driving publishers to pursue alternative revenue streams such as paid subscriptions.
Does adblock affect revenue?
Yes, adblock technologies have a significant impact on ad revenue for publishers. A study by OnAudience reports that in 2017, global ad revenue losses due to adblock were estimated to be $42 billion. Informa Group estimates $35 billion in adblock losses for 2020, and eMarketer reports suggest similarly sizable losses. When 20-30% of a publisher's visitor traffic stops seeing ads, that revenue cannot be recouped by presenting more ads to the visitors not using adblock. Additionally, advertisers typically pay a premium for highly targeted and engaging ads, thus the combined effects of adblock on targeting scripts, rich media, and innovative ad types, combines to reduce overall CPM rates.
How much revenue do publishers lose from adblocking?
Publishers typically lose from 15-30% of ad revenue to adblockers, according to various research reports such as Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB). Adblock losses vary by publisher niche and audience segments, the number of page or ad views per month, ad inventory fill rate, and average CPM rate for each publisher. YouTube star PewDiePie, whose real name is Felix Kjellberg, confirmed his adblock losses had grown to as much as 40% of ad revenue. Such losses can be devastating to a smaller blogger, YouTuber, niche content or local news site. For a large news publisher with 1M visitors or more per month, the losses can exceed the cost of multiple staff positions, making it harder for them to produce the same level of quality content.
Other impacts of adblocking technology on publishers:
- Circumventing of DMCA copyright control - Adblockers can sometimes block pubs from talking with their visitors about access control, preventing them from setting the terms of access with their visitors.
- Break site functionality - Adblockers can break sites that can depend on scripts for the user experience and site functionality. A study by Oriel found cases where adblockers disrupted critical content such as airline check-ins, cookie policies and order-tracking pages.
- Block Website Tracking - Adblockers regularly break Google Analytics (and other stat programs) ability to provide accurate website traffic data.
Want to know how much you are losing to adblockers?
Download and add the Admiral tag to get an immediate, free dashboard showing lost revenues and the scope of adblock losses for your site, losses by desktop vs mobile, and more.
What is adblock recovery?
Adblock recovery refers to a variety of methods online publishers can use to compensate for lost ad revenue due to adblock use. Solutions initially detect if a visitor is using an adblock solution, then apply methods for:
- Measuring and reporting revenue lost due to adblock
- Whitelisting a website
- Ad Reinsertion using vetted, less annoying ads
- Blocking Access to adblocker users based on site use terms and conditions
- Offering an Alternative Value Exchange between the visitor and content publisher, such as donations, email or social signup, paid subscriptions, site registration, participation in user panels, and more.
The best adblock recovery solutions offer a combination of options to optimize both the visitor experience and publisher sustainability. According to a 2018 study of 5000 adblock users, 76% agree publishers have a right to revenue, and many are willing to support them if provided options.
What are the benefits of adblock recovery solutions?
- The ability to monetize ads that would otherwise be blocked
- Higher CPM’s and ARPU than alternatives
- Develop deeper, sustainable relationships with engaged visitors
- Test and customize engagement offers to visitors
- Adblock impact reporting dashboards
- Learn from adblock recovery specialists that have worked with 100’s of other publishers
Is Adblock Recovery adopted by many publishers?Yes, thousands of publishers worldwide use adblock recovery to protect their content and offer a value exchange for access control to their content. Admiral, the category leader, recently hit a milestone of reaching 600 billion impressions across our adblock recovery network.
The size of publishers using adblock recovery solutions range from large publishing groups, such as NBC and Capital Broadcasting, groups of news publishers such as Advance Local Media Group and the Local Media Consortium, and niche publishers like LeitesCulinaria and TappedOut. Because adblock recovery platforms usually charge a performance-based revshare, publishers are able to unlock guaranteed net revenue gains regardless of their traffic levels.
The largest publishers, with the most well-known brands within their niche, typically recover via engagement and whitelist-based adblock recovery because of its superior results. Alternative value exchanges, including subscriptions, ad-lite experiences like AcceptableAds and email newsletters, are sometimes used by smaller publishers in combination with whitelist-based recovery.
At the very least, most publishers size their adblock losses with free adblock analytics platforms, allowing them to gather data for building an action plan with internal stakeholders.
What is anti-adblocking?
Anti-adblocking is a term used to describe efforts to limit revenue losses or page functioning problems caused by adblockers. Those efforts could involve whitelisting engagement, ad-lite experiences, ad-free passes or other value exchanges to help publishers support continued quality content creation, servers, staff, etc. The use of “anti” can be misleading, since some publishers are comfortable providing an ad-free environment, if the visitor is willing to agree to an equitable exchange of value.
Components of Adblock Recovery Solutions
Typically the best adblock recovery solutions start by detecting if a visitor to a website has an adblock solution turned on. With over 100 adblock technologies and new methods constantly in play, this step alone can be a daunting task for publishers to handle in-house. There are a handful of vendors who specialize in adblock recovery and should be considered in publisher build-vs-buy analysis.
What is adblock detection?
Adblock Analytics: How can publishers measure adblock revenue losses?Adblock technology can disrupt tracking analytics, making it difficult to accurately track adblock losses. Fortunately, there are free solutions to measure the impact of adblock on your site revenues. By placing a specialized adblock recovery tag on your site, you can immediately get free access to Adblock Analytics dashboards. Each vendor and solution is different, but the screenshot from Admiral illustrates there are options for desktop vs mobile, page views, ad impressions, blocked impressions, and more.
For more detail, visit: Adblock Analytics: How to Measure Adblock Losses and Revenue Recovery
What is website allowlisting or whitelisting?
Offering visitors a chance to add a website to a list of sites that are exempt from adblocking functions. Users can control this list on a site by site basis, usually with just a click or two. An allowlist facilitates users to disable an adblocker on a particular site they wants to support — without disabling the adblocker for all sites.
Adblocker surveys have shown that a significant number of web surfers did not know they had an adblocker running, and were willing to turn it off for their favorite websites. Some users prefer to adblock sites with annoying or excessive ads, while allowlisting/whitelisting sites that provide a more responsible ad experience.
Most blocker software enables allowlisting/whitelisting with just a couple clicks on the blocker extension and UI. Instructions for how users can whitelist a website across 27 popular adblockers and browsers, can be found in this Ultimate Allowlist/Whitelist Guide.
Admiral also invented a solution called 1-Click Whitelist® that empowers adblock users to manage their own custom whitelist choices in a single click.
What are the pros of allowlisting?
- When visitors support a publisher by allowlisting/whitelisting, it unlocks the publisher’s full ad stack, including the most valuable — and typically highest quality — direct, video and other ad campaigns. As a result, allowlist/whitelist-based revenue recovery yields the highest revenue per thousands pageviews (RPM), more than ad reinsertion methods.
- Allowlist/whitelist campaigns work for all browsers, all blockers, and all visitors; giving them a consent-based way to support the publishers they choose.
- Allowlisting/whitelisting allows users to keep their adblockers active for poor quality sites, while allowing ads for a site they love.
What is ad reinsertion?
Ad reinsertion is a method to recover lost revenue due to adblockers, by showing ads to visitors who use an active ad blocking plug-in or software. There are two types of ad reinsertion methods, Ad Recovery and Ad Replacement.
How does ad reinsertion work?
- Ad recovery — also called "surprise ad reinsertion" — recognizes that an ad was blocked, recovers the original ad, and reinserts it where the publisher intended, bypassing adblock efforts — and often surprising adblock users who dislike being shown ads against their consent. This method leverages the publisher's original ad stack, priority, contextual relevance, and tags, and typically maintains a higher CPM. Some advertisers refuse to purchase surprise ad reinsertion inventory out of fear of brand backlash. Surprise ad reinsertion also brings an ongoing “cat & mouse” fight with adblockers who respond, often breaking the publisher’s site. As a result, most publishers avoid surprise ad reinsertion.
- Ad replacement — also called consent-based ad reinsertion — identifies the locations that an ad was blocked, and replaces those locations with an alternative ad. This ad can be delivered with the consent of the user who has set their adblocker to allow an “acceptable ad” standard, which only allows ads that meet a standard driven by the adblockers and compensates participating adblock companies.
What are some pros and cons of ad reinsertion?
- Ad replacement adheres to standards from Acceptable Ads and Better Ads initiatives, avoiding the most annoying and intrusive ad formats.
- Ad replacement using acceptable ads relies on user consent and can be a middle ground that works for a subset of adblockers who agree to it.
- Ad replacement is compatible with only a subset of supply side platforms (SSP)
- Surprise ad recovery can conflict with active adblockers to break site functionality
- The non-consensual nature of surprise ad recovery can drive a backlash on brands and publishers, and some advertisers refuse to purchase such inventory
- Ad replacement using the Acceptable Ads includes no audio, no video, and no dynamic elements, which can result in lower CPM or revenue clawbacks.
Controversy: Does ad re-insertion fund the adblockers?
There’s concern from some publishers that using Acceptable Ads helps to fund and support the largest adblock developer, Adblock Plus, going as far as calling it an “extortion racket”. EyeO, the developer of Adblock Plus, also developed the Acceptable Ads initiative. Adblock Plus automatically opts-in its users to the AA program and EyeO is funded by requiring a cut of publisher revenues to allow any ads to show. Some believe Google's "deal with the devil" makes it the single largest funder of adblocking on the planet and their double-dealing has drawn congressional scrutiny with antitrust implications.
What are alternative value exchanges for adblockers?
Alternative value exchange includes a multitude of offers a publisher can make to an adblocker to allow access to their copyrighted content. For example, a publisher can offer access in exchange for an adblocker joining the publisher’s email list or following the publisher’s social channel.
Another popular example includes offering paid ad-free passes or paid recurring subscriptions as an option for visitors to keep their blocker and access content. Other options may include site registrations or participation in user panels. The options are only limited by the publishers imagination and the sophistication of their recovery implementation partner.
Which ad recovery method should I use?
None of the adblock recovery options described above need to be considered as mutually exclusive with the others. In fact, the best recovery comes from some combination. Through a combination of allowlist/whitelist-based recovery, reinsertion-based recovery and alternative value exchanges, savvy publishers are able to earn more revenue for their content than they were losing to adblockers in the first place. The combination allows publishers to turn adblockers into paying subscribers, some even exceeding a 100% recovery rate.
How much does adblock recovery cost?
Most adblock recovery solutions are performance-based revenue share, with no out-of-pocket costs. Admiral’s Adblock Recovery solution is risk-free, 100% net-revenue to the publisher, and includes advanced analytics, recovery management tools, creative templates, dedicated getting-started support, one-click whitelisting, and more.
Steps and Strategies to Implementing Adblock Revenue Recovery
How do I get started with adblock recovery?
- Step 1 (5 minutes): Size your adblock losses with adblock analytics: The first step most publishers take is to measure the impact blockers have on their site. This sizes the problem and contributes valuable data for organizational adblock recovery discussions. Admiral offers the most robust adblock analytics, including visitors, pageviews, impressions and revenue lost — and do so for free. Steps for getting free analytics are below:
- Signup for free adblock analytics
- After signup & login you can add the Install tag to your site via direct install, tag manager, Wordpress or Cloudflare.
- Direct Install:
- Copy the Install script
- Paste the Install script into the <head> of your site
- Google/other tag manager (Note, some blockers disrupt Google Tag Manager, so Direct Install is recommended for optimal results):
- Copy the Install script
- Paste the Install script into your tag manager account, configuring it to show in the <head> of every page of your site
- Publish your new tag manager configuration
- Install the Adblock Analytics Wordpress plugin
- Configure the plugin to use your PropertyID
- Install the Adblock Analytics Cloudflare app
- Configure the app to use your propertyID
- Direct Install:
- Login to your adblock analytics dashboard (data will begin to show in 1-24 hours) and track your block rate, with detail on visitors, pageviews, impressions and revenue lost; plus dimensions of traffic, platform/browser, mobile/desktop and more.
- Step 2 (5 minutes): Recover lost revenue via adblock engagement and messaging (this approach yields the quickest and highest revenue recovery):
- Login to configure adblock messaging.
- Click Engage.
- Click Edit to add your logo, headline, message, colors and buttons to help visitors allow ads.
- Click On.
- You are now recovering lost revenue from adblockers — with zero dev lift. Every blocker that allows ads on your site unlocks your full ad stack and fully optimized revenue!
- Step 3: Optimize messaging over time or offer additional value exchanges, like Acceptable Ads, email subscriptions, social growth, donations, paid subscriptions/memberships and more.
- There are an infinite number of ways to optimize adblock messaging, including segments, targeting, frequencies, Smart Engage, 1-Click Allowlist/Whitelist and more. The best results typically come from building multi-faceted journeys that don’t just show a basic message, but instead provide an intelligent sequence of engagements.
- Acceptable Ads adblock recovery (1 week to 3 months): If you and your leadership are OK funding the adblock companies, consider Acceptable Ads for visitors that have opted into Acceptable Ads
- Ad-free passes, subscriptions (5 minutes): You can either offer recurring ad-free passes to blockers, or recurring ad-free subscriptions to all site visitors. The RPMs of subscribers are an order of magnitude higher than ad-supported visitors, and the visitor revenue is recurring.
- Donations (5 minutes): You can offer blockers the option of a one-time donation, in exchange for some period of ad-free consumption.
- Email subscriptions (5 minutes): You can offer blockers the option of creating an account or subscribing to email newsletters, in exchange for some period of ad-free consumption.
- Social subscriptions (5 minutes): You can offer blockers the option of following your site on social networks, in exchange for some period of ad-free consumption.
Additional questions about implementing adblock:
How long does it take to recover revenue from adblockers?
Each vendor has a different implementation method, but most adblock monetization solutions can be implemented in days, not weeks or months. Admiral’s “One-Tag” solution can be implemented in less than an hour, and even large multi-site publishers can measure impact and be recovering revenues in less than 24 hours.
Will adblock recovery interfere with my advertisers?
No. In fact, engagement-based adblock messaging unlocks your existing ad stack, existing demand and existing advertiser relationships. Note, there is at least one flavor of adblock recovery using Acceptable Ads that brings 3rd-party ad demand instead of recovering your existing advertisers.
Considerations when choosing an adblock recovery partner
- Platform breadth should be the number one consideration when choosing an adblock recovery partner, offering many options or value exchanges to convert blocked visitors into revenue. Publishers are diverse and blockers are diverse, so your recovery partner needs the ability to offer engagement-based adblock messaging, Acceptable Ads, subscriptions, donations and more. You will gain the most revenue by offering a combo of adblock recovery options.
- RPM or recovered revenue per thousand pageviews is a close second consideration. Many adblock vendors try to hide their own inadequacies by focusing your attention on a CPM that only fills a fraction of all blocked impressions. As such, CPM is practically meaningless in choosing an adblock vendor. This is also critical because adblock messaging can recover all ad units, on all pageviews, from all adblockers; whereas Acceptable Ads only fill a subset of ad units, on a subset of pageviews, from a subset of adblockers that support Acceptable Ads -- more fill = higher RPMs.
- Platform depth. Beyond breadth, the depth of engagement optimization is critical. Anyone can throw up a message asking blockers to allow ads, but the ability to target by referrer, domain, geo, loyalty and any number of custom criteria can result in recover rates an order of magnitude higher.
- Intelligent recovery, including visitor journeys, so you provide a personalized recovery plan for each visitor.
- Reporting that isn't limited to just block rate, but instead allows you to dive into visitors, pageviews, impressions and revenue; plus dimensions like traffic, platforms, mobile, desktop and more.
- Transparency and customer support are critical in the adblock recovery space. Adblocking already has a shady reputation because of the revenue model that funds it. Publishers need vendors who are transparent about the total adblock losses potential and committed to doing what is best for the publisher, not what is best for the adblock companies. Many adblock recovery vendors are essentially just "tax collectors" for the blockers, owing their entire business model to the adblock companies and have greater allegiance to those companies than they do to the publishers they’re supposed to serve. Therefore, transparency and customer support — dare we say Customer Love — are critical to growing a trust-based partnership with your adblock recovery vendor.
Should I build or buy an Adblock Recovery Solution?
There’s a strong case for leveraging vendor expertise in adblock recovery, due to the large number of adblocking technology vendors, browsers innovations, complications with tracking and privacy blockers, and constant modifications of adblocking code. Additionally, most vendors use a revenue-share business model with no upfront costs so it’s 100% performance-based. For more info, see Admiral’s article discussing 10 advantages over in-house, DIY methods.
What are some adblock recovery best practices?
- Test, test, test: Test creative, offers, CTAs.
- Offer many value exchanges along the journey so you don't lose the relationship opportunity as soon as they whitelist. There is value in getting email, identity, social follows and more before they disable their blocker.
- Surge Allowlisting/Whitelisting is also a best practice for quick ROI, or if your team is unsure about running a Hard Engage ask. #WhitelistWednesday is an example of this, where many pubs worldwide go with Hard Engage on Wednesdays to see the long-recovery impact of a small weekly experiment.
- Avoid "message blindness" journeys by altering messages, colors and CTAs so that blockers actually consider the value exchange being asked instead of muscle memory to dismiss an Engagement.
- Match messaging to context and user sentiment. For example, during the initial COVID outbreak, audiences were more willing to send donations for local news organizations to provide over-and-above reporting on the crisis.
- Use messaging as the foundation of your adblock recovery efforts, but offer multiple value exchanges along the visitor-to-subscriber journey.
- Configure visitor journeys that aren’t just a “turn off your blocker” popup on every pageview.
- Many blockers don't whitelist on the first Engage, but will on subsequent asks so you need journeys that include reminders well after the first attempt.
- When crafting your allowlist/whitelist or value exchange offer, consider, alternate, and test:
- Images/graphic for offer
- # of words in offer
- Offer position on page
Want to size and solve your adblock losses?
Download and add the Admiral tag to get an immediate, free dashboard showing lost revenues and the scope of adblock losses for your site, losses by desktop vs mobile, and more.