CSS ad blocking: Generating charges for ads that were never shown

We all know ad blockers stop ads, however not many know there are different types of ad blocking, CSS ad blocking and domain ad blocking, The two types can have different outcomes for the user and advertiser.

CSS ad blocking is how the browser puts the page together, almost like a list of instructions. A CSS ad blocker looks for certain elements to block on a page, most likely related to advertising. An example of a CSS ad blocker would be Brave Privacy Browser, even though the main purpose of the browser is not to block ads.

The ad element will be on the page, however the ad blocker is told to block the user from seeing the ad at any opportunity. The ad network does not know that the ad blocker is a CSS ad blocker, meaning there will still be an attempt to display the ad. The ad is downloaded but not displayed to the user, hence why an ad network believes an ad has been served. The result is that the advertiser will be charged for an impression that was never made.

To summarise CSS ad blocking, every part of the normal process for displaying an ad happens but the ad is never shown. This process is the last effort by browsers or ad blockers to stop ads from being visible to the user.

We must keep in mind that CSS ad blocking is not ad fraud and not illegal, as the only person or entity in the process that knows the ad has not been shown is the user.

How does CSS differ from domain ad blocking?

Domain ad blocking stops your browser from reaching ad and affiliate network domains. This prevents ads from being served; no ad impressions are counted. A domain ad blocker would be that of AdBlock Plus.

CSS ad blocking prevents an ad from being displayed on the page. This can result in ad impressions being paid for, but never actually displayed.

How can you check what type of ad blocker is being used?

You can check the type of ad blocker by visiting our home page on our website. In the bottom left of the screen there will be a yellow box with a radar inside of it, while also displaying your ad blocker status. If you click on the yellow box, we provide definitions of the types of ad blockers.

CSS Ad Blocking figure estimates

It is possible estimate that over a quarter of ad blocker and browser users are optimising such technology to stop publishers from gathering analytics and ads being displayed, but many will not know they are even using CSS ad blocking.

Brave uses such technology to protect its user’s privacy, with it being estimated that the browser has 60 million monthly active users. We must keep these statistics in mind to gather an understanding of how many ads are not being shown to users but are still being paid for by advertisers.

B2 can overcome CSS ad blocking

Our Analytics system will give a detailed report on the types of ad blockers visiting your website. Over 150 teams use B2 Analytics to gain valuable information on whether their publication or clients have an ad blocker problem.

B2’s anti-ad blocking technology works for any type of ad blocker, meaning a publisher’s ad revenue recovery process is being fulfilled at its maximum potential. This is the next step that publishers and networks take after learning they have an ad blocker problem. Other ad revenue recovery platforms cannot defend ads against CSS ad blocking and browsers such as Brave, as it can be very difficult to challenge their technology.

CSS ad blocking blocks cookies and distorts analytics. Not only does B2 Ad Reinsertion help ads be displayed to CSS ad blocking users, but it also allows for key analytics to be unblocked.

We have live demos of our technology working against all types of ad blocking, available by request, or by visiting www.b2.ai/broadstreetads.

Want help from the B2 team?

For any more information regarding anti-ad blocking technology, please contact our team at www.b2.ai/contact.

We offer a free consultation to publishers and networks interested in adopting B2 Ad Reinsertion, helping publishers to ensure ads are displayed and increase ad revenue.