Affiliate Marketing

A Quick Guide To Ad-blocking Software

Martin Trauzold
Martin Trauzold
Last updated July 8, 2016 5 Min Read
A Quick Guide To Ad-blocking Software

Ad-blocking software – a popular example of which is AdBlock – is software that extends web browsers to enable users to choose which ads they see, and which they don’t.

Ads such as banners are not shown or, in most cases, not even downloaded, in order to save bandwidth. Since traditional web ads constitute the biggest revenue share for most sites, ad-blocking software is known to heavily jeopardise some website’s business model.


  • About ad-blocking software
  • How it can affect the browsing experience of your site
  • How to minimise the effects of ad-blocking software on your revenue

A 2015 study by PageFair and Adobe revealed over 16 per cent of US internet users use ad-block software. Globally, ads worth $22 billion are blocked – more than 14 per cent of the world’s online advertising budget.

These numbers grew by 41 per cent compared to 2014. The countries with the world’s highest ad-block adoption were Germany (25 per cent), Poland (35 per cent) and Greece (37 per cent). And these numbers are expected to rise.

Studies show the younger you are, the more likely you are to block ads. Moreover, top income earners also show a disproportionally high adoption of ad-block software that is, depending on the age group, 10 to 20 percent higher than on average (you can check your Google Analytics to see if your demographic overlaps with this data).

Mobile Blocking

With the release of iOS 9 in September 2015, Apple allowed third-party app developers to distribute ad-block apps through its official App Store. Three ad-blocking apps climbed to the top of Apple’s app store charts. Website owners are getting nervous: ow commission income for mobile users was often softened by low ad-block adoption.

Now it’s likely that not only the limited screen real estate, but also the increasing popularity of ad-blockers, is going to make mobile traffic especially hard to monetise.

Are Your Visitors Blocking Ads?

Most adblockers not only block advertisements, but also tracking tools such as Google Analytics – as improving privacy is part of their value proposition.

That makes it harder to determine the exact share of ad-block users on your websites and any resulting damage to your business.

A pragmatic approach to fix this issue is to locally embed your Google Analytics snippet, so it cannot be detected by ad-blockers anymore. Marketingland provides a detailed tutorial on how to solve the problem. You’ll need basic PHP and JavaScript knowledge.

Which Parts Of Your Site Are Blocked?

Check this by installing market-leading ad-blocking software Adblock Plus. Visit your website and not only check for hidden banners, but also for external Affiliate Links that are being blocked. Most Affiliate Links are not blocked with standard settings.

Which Ads Are Blocked?

The website PubNation has looked at the 50 most-visited websites in the US according to comScore. 11 out of 50 websites, such as Netflix or Wikipedia, do not rely on ads.

For the remaining 39 websites, PubNation explored how they handled users with ad-blockers – and the systems they had potentially put in place to circumvent ad-blocking. PubNation categorized advertisements into three groups:

  1. Standard ads
    Classic banner ads
  2. Article ads
    Mostly sponsored sections below articles
  3. Native ads
    Sponsored postings that are closely adapted to the look and feel of a website (e.g. sponsored tweets on Twitter)

Not one of the 39 websites was successful in circumventing ad-block for standard advertisements. This led Germany’s most-visited news website,, to take the much-publicised step of fully locking out users with an active ad-blocker in October 2015, with results that are yet to be revealed.

However, 44 per cent of websites with article advertisements were successful in showing them to any user, regardless of ad-blocker. The screenshot shows a sample of an article ad (with the label ‘Sponsor Content’):

Adblock sponsor content

By far the most effective advertisements were ‘native’ ads, designed to appear just like regular website content, with subtle labels. 71 per cent of all native advertisements were still shown with an ad-blocker active. The screenshot shows a sample of a native ad:

Adblock native ad

Ad-block And Amazon Associates

When you embed Affiliate Links in your content, these are usually not blocked by ad-block software, as most software developers know this would harm the user’s browsing experience.

However, classic banners are blocked for up to one-third of your traffic. Therefore, as an affiliate, you should shift your focus towards content or to native advertisements and ensure classic banner ads only serve as a back-up reven