Anti-adblocking: Should Publishers Take Adblockers More Seriously?

An overall anti-adblocking strategy cannot be defined as one process, as qualitative data and innovative technologies are needed to stay ahead of adblockers. Many companies suggest that multiple strategies can be used to “optimise” the results from adblock users, however it can be said that these strategies do not have the potential to recover ad revenue as much as other strategies. Paywalls and ad reinsertion are among innovative solutions in the publisher’s toolbox.

Adblocker Statistics

Adblocker usage can vary depending on different factors such as:

  1. Age
  2. Location (Country)
  3. Device (desktop or phone)
Ad blocking statistics

A younger audience typically aged 16-24 are the predominant users of adblockers. If we base our research on location, then it is estimated from multiple sources that more than 40% of online users in Asia use adblocking software. Statista reported that in the 3rd quarter of 2022 China, Indonesia and Vietnam were the top ad-blocking countries in the world. Statista also reported in this time frame that 1 in 3 from the US were using adblocking software, with reports of a rise in adblockers not posing well for advertisers, especially since the US has one of highest CPMs based on location.

Results from B2’s anti-adblocking technology suggest that phone users do not utilise adblockers as much as desktop users. This could be down to phone users not being able to see as many ads as desktop users, so they may deem there is no need to try and block ads.

Some phones may be affected by Google’s latest stance on adblockers, with Play Store policy alterations and their adblock limiting extension plan in Manifest V3. This can then limit the amount of adblockers available to consumers, helping Google and publishers source some more ad revenue.

The Reasons For Anti-adblocking

Ad Revenue

The compelling reason to adopt such a strategy is evident in its name – the imperative to safeguard ads and, consequently, ad revenue. Publishers have heavily relied on ad revenue in recent decades, experiencing even greater benefits with the advent of digital publishing. However, as history shows, when publishers began incorporating ads into articles, consumers promptly sought solutions against these intrusions. Essentially, when an adblocker user visits a site, they encounter no ads, resulting in advertisers being unable to charge for impressions, and the publisher earns no revenue.

The decline in ad revenue, coupled with a proliferation of alternative news sources in recent years, has compelled publishers to streamline their workforce. There have been reports of significant workforce reductions, including instances of journalists being laid off by some of the UK’s largest publication groups.

Data For CPM and Analytics

An alternative use of adblockers is privacy, stopping data from being collected by publishers and advertisers. The reason behind data being so valuable is how it can be used to produce a higher CPM, because of more interest and activity-based ads. Third-party cookies allow advertisers to display ads to users based on their recent activity, however a combination of adblockers and the phase-out of third-party cookies means that publisher CPM will decrease because of a lack of data.

Conversions

Anti-adblocking strategies can be of use to major retailers in an unusual perspective. As we have just mentioned, data is valuable to advertisers as it can allow them to know what ads a user is most likely to be interested in, as well as click on. Some large retailers use data to show which products users are most likely to purchase when first visiting a website. So, if a retailer were to adopt an anti-adblocking strategy it is possible they could see an increase in sales, on top of an increase in key analytics such as visitors.

The General Outlook on Adblockers

The recent changes made by Google would suggest that they are not the fondest of adblockers. This view is not without reason though, as advertising and analytics are their main sources of revenue.

From the view of publishers, it can be mixed with their stance on methods involved in the overall picture of anti-adblocking. Some publishing groups suggest that alternative strategies should be used to anti-adblockers, as users should not see ads if they dislike them that much. A lot also respect users’ concerns for privacy, with a lot of adblockers stopping intrusive tracking. However, some see anti-adblocking as a way of making sure of a fair transaction between knowledge for the reader and financial reward for journalists and publishers. A lot of time and effort is put in by journalists and publishers to create content for readers, so they see advertising as a fair reward.  

Publishers

Should Publishers Act Against Adblockers?

Publishers are actively seeking additional revenue avenues, particularly given the prevailing economic challenges within the publishing industry. Rising costs, consumer uncertainties, and alterations by advertisers have collectively posed recent challenges for publishers.

However, implementing more robust measures against adblockers can streamline the revenue generation process, aiding in managing costs effectively. The focus may not necessarily revolve around deploying numerous solutions to counter adblockers but rather identifying a high-quality solution with the primary objective of delivering advertisements to readers.”

B2’s Anti-adblocking Strategy

Ad reinsertion used for anti-Adblocking

We recommend deploying our free analytics before adopting the full process of anti-adblocking, to evaluate whether it is a necessary step. This information will allow you to see how many of your website visitors have adblocking software, while also giving details on the adblocker type, location, and device type.  

Our ad reinsertion technology allows publishers to display their ads to users utilising adblockers, facilitating a robust anti-adblocking strategy. This not only allows publishers to amplify their impressions but also ensures the presentation of original content instead of seeking alternative material to fill the ad space.

Please contact the B2 team at info@b2.ai if you wish to learn more.