A Quick Guide to Adblock

A Quick Guide to Adblock

Adblock refers to software that distorts a web browser so advertisements such as banners are not shown or, in most cases, not even downloaded in order to save bandwidth and amends the user’s web experience.

As classic ads constitute the biggest revenue share for most websites, adblock software is known to heavily jeopardize most websites’ business model.

A 2015 study by Pagefair and Adobe revealed that more than 16% of US internet users use adblock software. Globally, ads worth $ 22 billion are blocked – comprising more than 14% of the worldwide online advertising budget. These numbers have grown by 41% compared to the previous months in 2014. The countries with the world’s highest adblock adoption are Germany (25%), Poland (35%) and Greece (37%).

And these numbers are expected to rise: even today adblock adoption between 18-24 year old web users is more than 50% higher than for the average internet user. In general, the incidence of adblocking is inversely related with the users’ age. Moreover, top income earners also show a disproportionally high adoption 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).

Why is the release of iOS 9 with adblocking capabilities significant?

With the release of iOS 9 in September 2015 Apple allowed third-party app developers to distribute adblock apps through the official app store. In addition to the changed experience, lower mobile bandwidth usage and reduced battery drain are the main drivers for the adoption of adblockers.

Quickly after the release of iOS 9, three adblocking apps climbed to the top of Apple’s app store charts. While Peace was withdrawn from the market within two days due to ethical concerns, the two apps Purify and Crystal now divide the market among themselves.

Website owners are getting nervous: the low advertising income for mobile users was often softened by the low adblock adoption. Now it’s likely that not only the limited screen real estate, but also the increasing popularity of adblockers are going to make mobile traffic especially hard to monetize.

Some experts assume that more publishers will flee into apps as a protected ecosystem that is immune against adblockers. However, high app development and marketing costs will make entry barriers even higher.

How can you identify what proportion of your traffic is using adblock?

Most adblockers not only block advertisements, but also block tracking tools such as Google Analytics as their value proposition towards users includes improving privacy. That makes it harder to determine the exact share of adblock users on your websites and the damage it causes to your business.

A pragmatic approach to fix this issue is to locally embed your Google Analytics snippet so it cannot be detected by adblockers anymore. Marketingland provides a detailed instruction on how to solve that problem (http://marketingland.com/ad-blockers-analytics-webmasters-know-145661). Basic PHP- and Javascript-Knowledge is recommended.

How can you check which parts of your site are being blocked?

The easy way is to install market-leading adblocking software “Adblock Plus“. Now visit your website and not only check for hidden banners, but also for external affiliate links that are being blocked. According to our experience, most affiliate links are not blocked with standard settings.

What solutions can our associates role out to minimize the impact of adblock on their site?

What kinds of advertisements are being 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 and were thus not further investigated. For the remaining 39 websites Pubnation checked, how they handled users with adblockers – and what systems they had potentially put in place to circumvent ad blocking.

Pubnation categorized advertisements into three groups:

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

Not one of the 39 websites was successful in circumventing adblock for standard advertisements. This lead Germany’s most visited news website BILD.de to fully lock out users with an active adblocker in October 2015, a much-noticed step with results that are yet to be revealed.
However, 44% of websites with article advertisements were successful in showing them to any user, no matter if he was visiting with or without an adblocker. The screenshot shows a sample of an article ad (label „sponsor content“):

Adblock sponsor content

By far the most effective advertisements were “Native“ advertisements that look just like regular content on the website and are usually labelled without attracting attention. 71% of all native advertisements were still shown with an active adblocker. The screenshot shows a sample of a native ad:

Adblock native ad

What shall I do to preserve my Amazon affiliate revenues?

When you embed affiliate links in your content these are usually not blocked by adblock software as most software developers know it would harm the user’s browsing experience. However, classic banners are blocked for up to one third of your traffic.

As an affiliate you should move your focus towards content or native advertisements and make sure that classic banner ads only serve as a backup revenue source.

This article is supplied by www.vergleich.org

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