Use Ad Block Detection to Make More Money
The current trend in ad block use has the potential to spiral out of control and the people who lose out will be publishers and site owners, not the ad networks.
If you are a publisher, affiliate marketer, or blogger, the chances are that you rely on ad revenue to maintain your business. The good news is that there are ways in which you can bypass ad blockers and still earn revenue.
Are Ad Blockers Hurting Your Bottom Line?
An ad blocker (for anyone unfamiliar with them) is a plugin or mobile app that blocks ads from being loaded onto the web page a visitor is viewing. They have been steadily increasing in popularity in recent years and now 34.2% of Americans and 37% of internet users worldwide, aged 16-64, are using ad blockers according to Hootsuite.
But even before you become suspicious of every single visitor to your site, you need to get to grips with your ad performance data and make it an integral part of your processes and site management. This is the most reliable tool you have to assess how your bottom line is being affected.
Low engagement figures can be due to a number of factors including poor ad placement, irrelevant ad content, or the use of ad blockers by your site visitors.
The first two of these problems can be rectified using more effective ad placement and ad rotation tools but unless you are using some sort of ad blocker detection it is very hard to know if your site visitors are using ad blockers. And if they are, convincing them to whitelist your site can be a real challenge.
That is why it is so valuable to be aware of alternative methods that can help you use ad block detection to make more money, or at the very least not lose any more. After all, the decision will always be in the hands of your site visitors.
Run Ads, Grow Traffic, and Increase Revenue…?
Before we get on to the techniques you can use to make more money using ad blocker detection, there are some ways that you can tackle the issue head-on, and that is in the quality of your ad content.
Improve The Quality of Your Ads
Regulatory bodies such as Coalition for Better Ads, IAB, and IAB Techlab have set new guidelines for permissible ad formats for mobile, desktop, and video.
Supply-side platforms are used to coordinate and manage the supply and distribution of ad inventories, like an ad network. These days, most of them comply with the new regulatory standards and their advertising content can side-step less aggressive ad blockers, such as the one used by Google Chrome.
When asked how many would have a positive perception of a brand if it was advertised next to relevant and trustworthy content, polling from AudienceProject suggests that more people appreciate advertising that is relevant to them.
Remember that advertising unrelated and seemingly random products to a niche audience will cause your brand reputation more harm than the revenue it might bring in.
Improve Your Ad Placement
Where your ads are placed on the page can have a serious impact on user engagement. Get it wrong and you will be rewarded with disappointing performance numbers. Get it really wrong and you will turn visitors off your site entirely! But get it right and you can become a source of reliable recommendations for your community.
Looking at the reasons behind why people use ad blockers—62.1% too many ads, 55.3% they get in the way—the importance of sticking to simple guidelines is very clear when it comes to advertising on your website.
Effective ad placement is likely not something you will master overnight but with practice and testing, you would be surprised at the engagement you can yield.
How you can use Ad Blockers to your advantage
At the end of the day, you will never be able to prevent your site visitors from using ad blockers. It is something we as publishers and bloggers must respect, however hard that may be, but it shouldn’t stop us from thinking outside the box.
Ask Users to Disable Their Ad Blockers
Asking users to whitelist your website isn’t exactly a “get rich quick” scheme but it can be hugely beneficial to building credibility with your community. It involves relying on the quality of your content to provide a unique and valuable experience for your visitors, plus positioning yourself as the expert in your niche.
The effectiveness of your message is harder than you might expect, which is why we have written an entire article on how to convince users to turn off their ad blockers.
Offer a paid ad-free version
This may appear to be a bit of a stretch for your audience, but it is important to remember that many of us do already pay for our content quite happily. Subscription platforms have been shaking up the online business model for the past 10 years.
You should be very familiar with Netflix, The New York Times, and Medium already, but there is also a whole host of small businesses utilizing paid memberships and subscriptions for their online content.
The subscription does not need to be anything considerable as it is unlikely that you will have sufficient content to charge in the region of ten dollars per month. The New York Times takes a more reasonable approach of 50 cents per week which for most people is very affordable.
Only you will know the price that can be put on your content. Generally, it will be in line with the frequency with which you post, and your target audience/community demographic. Combine this with your desired revenue from advertising and find a middle ground that makes your offer appealing.
In a way, providing a paid ad-free version of your website is a win-win situation. Users who prefer to only access the free version will continue to use their ad blockers and you are no worse off than before.
Create added value paid content
Instead of running ads on your site, you can invest in more valuable content that can be purchased for a small sum, such as ebooks and digital downloads.
Ebook creation tools are widely available. They provide an opportunity to leverage your expertise to offer a unique opinion to your community. If it takes off, ebooks can be more lucrative than advertising.
This is content that covers a specific topic or theme dictated by your client. Sponsored content is usually in the form of well-written articles or even videos. These formats enable you to add direct links to the client’s product, service, or website as a part of the deal.
The additional selling point to your clients is that the content will remain permanently on your website and this can be negotiated as a one-time fee or with recurring fees to maintain the post.
Becoming an affiliate marketer is a great way to build a personal relationship with your visitors and encourages them to make a purchase based on your trusted opinion. Affiliate links can simply be included as direct links in your content.
The industry has also progressed in recent years and you can now receive a commission even if the visitor does not purchase the product right away. There tends to be a window of 30-60 days when the click remains active.
Mobile traffic-heavy sites
Another interesting observation from AudienceProject shows how fewer people use ad blockers on mobile and even less on tablets. If you have the kind of content that is more digestible in mobile or tablet format or have an audience more prone to viewing your content away from a desktop, you can optimize your entire site around this. It is certainly worth investing in a tablet-optimized version of your site as well as just mobile.
Effectively it is playing a numbers game. You assume that fewer of your visitors will be running an ad blocker on mobile or tablet devices. However, it can still allow you to generate good revenue through ads.
Just be wary of what ad formats are best suited to mobile and tablet devices and, as ever, don’t overdo it.
Ad Blockers Are Here to Stay
The use of ad blockers is forever going to be up for debate. Even a hard-nosed blogger that relies on ad revenue to stay afloat will appreciate the desire for individuals to want a web experience that doesn’t thrust ads in their faces at every opportunity.
If we return to the example mentioned at the beginning about Google Chrome now including an ad blocker, their approach appears to encourage creating a happy medium. It is more a mutually beneficial relationship because it does not block all ads, instead only blocking intrusive pop-up ads and autoplay videos.
Is this a more sustainable approach? It certainly seems that way, as ads won’t be disappearing from the internet any time soon.
If we look at the sharp increase in the number of Americans whitelisting websites, up from 40% in 2018 to 54% in 2020, it is clear that people’s attitude toward advertising is shifting.
Our advice would be to take a less polarizing approach to your content. Try mixing things up between regular content, affiliate marketing, sponsored content, and paid content to provide your audience with options.
These options require more work. But, they create an ecosystem around your brand that serves to strengthen your business’ value offering to site visitors. It will also make asking them to disable their ad blockers a much more convincing sell.
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