How Publishers Can Monetize Adblock Traffic

Brock Munro
September 16, 2022
April 16, 2024
How Publishers Can Monetize Adblock Traffic

Adblock monetization is increasingly becoming an essential tool for advertisers and online publishers. Ad revenue remains one of publishers’ main revenue generators today. 

However, as more internet users turn to adblock plugins for an ad-free online experience, publishers and advertisers are feeling the pinch. Adblock tools are estimated to have lost publishers $35 billion in revenue (PDF download) in 2020 alone.

A wide array of ad blocking software or plugins are available online that use different methods to block online ads. While advanced ad blocker extensions can block a range of sophisticated ads, simpler ones usually only block ads such as pop-ups or banner ads. 

It’s essential for publishers to learn not only about how ad blockers work but also what adblock monetization is, as well as a few solutions to monetize adblock traffic.

Table of Contents

How Does Ad Blocking Work

Ad Blocker Usage in 2024

How Publishers Can Monetize Adblock Traffic

Final Thoughts

How Does Ad Blocking Work

An ad blocker is an easy-to-install browser extension or software that is used for blocking ads on a website. This ad filtering tool scans a website and its script while loading the webpage to block or hide irrelevant content.

It does this by scanning the site and its script against the list of scripts on its block/hide list. In case of a match, the adblock plugin alters the content on the webpage as per the user’s preferences. 

An ad blocker is capable of blocking a variety of online ads on a site, including pop-ups, banner ads, native ads, embedded texts, and tracking codes to ensure user privacy. 

Adblock browser extensions or plugins are not limited to personal computers and can be easily installed on other devices like mobiles, tablets, etc. This means that publishers need to constantly innovate with their monetization strategies in order to stay one step ahead of ad blocking software, all the while providing the greatest possible value from their content to the end user.

Ad Blocker Usage in 2024

Slightly more than one third (37%) of the world’s internet users, aged 16-64, use an ad blocker, according to The Global State of Digital 2022 report.

The survey found that 39% of men use an ad blocker for at least some of their online activities, while that number among women was smaller at 34%.

The majority of those who use ad blockers said that not only were the number of ads a factor, but that they were intrusive

How Publishers Can Monetize Adblock Traffic

We’ve collected 11 ways a publisher can use to ensure ad blockers don't compromise their revenue stream. Before we get to those, however, it is important to acknowledge why somebody might have had an ad blocker installed in their browser.

The primary reason for the rise in the use of ad blocker tools is the sheer volume and intrusiveness of ads.

The reasons why people use ad blockers
Source: Global State of Digital 2022

The filtration of irrelevant and invasive ads results in faster load speeds, while mobile ad blocking can lower battery consumption, both of which add to the overall user experience.This means that any adblock traffic monetization strategy should keep user experience at its front and center.

1. Request Adblock Users Whitelist Your Website

As surprising as it may sound, displaying a simple message describing the need for advertising to sustain your business is one of the most effective strategies to get users to whitelist your website. 

One study showed that around 60% of internet adblock users were receptive to the idea that website owners should be paid for their work. It’s up to publishers to clarify to interested users the value of advertising and how it helps to generate revenue.  

Users who enjoy your site are more frequently fine with turning off the adblock plugins so you can keep producing the quality content they benefit from. 

Many players within the ad tech industry provide anti-ad blocking services to publishers to help them recover their revenue lost due to ad blocking. These plugins, when installed on your website, have the capability of overriding ad blocks.

Anti-adblock software automatically detects adblock visitors and asks them to turn off the adblock software if they wish to access the content.

2. Ask Adblock Users for an Email

Adblock users can also be encouraged to subscribe to a free newsletter to access the content. You can be forthright about your revenue generation from the ads and ask users to subscribe or pay to access the content if they are unwilling to disable the ad blockers.

The newsletter subscription model works for publishers with revenue generation options beyond ads. For example, The Washington Post offers ad-free content to readers if they subscribe to their newsletter by registering with their email address.

This is an ideal approach for publishers who have multiple revenue streams.

3. Provide Enhanced User Experience

No matter how good the content is, if the user's experience is disrupted by annoying pop-up ads they’ll have little interest in staying on the site. 

Publishers should focus on enhancing the user experience by allowing them to choose what they wish to watch or read. Give the user options to skip, opt out and dislike ads as they see fit. That way they are less likely to become annoyed by irrelevant ads. 

This combination of empowering the user with choice and providing high-quality content on the website that solves the user’s problem can be an effective strategy to get around the ad blocker hurdle.

4. Implement Adblock Walls

This strategy is similar to implementing paywalls to restrict access to content. Only, it is a little more aggressive. Using this method, publishers can prevent access for users with adblock browser extensions or software altogether 

One crucial question that arises when implementing this strategy is how to detect ad blockers when a user tries to access your site.

You can implement this monetization method by installing plugins or applications that detect ad blockers on a browser and block the site content for adblock users. Users are allowed access to the content only when they turn off the ad blocker.

The effectiveness of this strategy varies based on the value of content and the type of website. It works if the publisher is known for producing high quality content consistently, thereby imposing a cost on users with adblock software installed.

Any strategy to monetize ad block users can prove to be a double-edged sword that only works if you constantly produce content worth disabling the ad blockers.

5. Include Native Ads or Direct Links

If you’re not keen on blocking access or requesting adblock users to whitelist your website,  you can try including in-page push ads or direct links in the content to monetize adblock traffic. 

Direct links are URLs that can be easily placed in the body of the content, making it difficult for ad filtering tools to detect them. 

Native ads blend seamlessly with the website content to make it more relevant to the readers. They are non-intrusive ads and usually appear as recommended, promoted, or branded content on the site. One example could be a bread manufacturer promoting its product on a food blog.

There are several formats in which a native ad can be used depending on the publisher’s content and the advertiser’s product. It is a unique way of promoting products while ensuring revenue generation without worrying about ad blockers. 

According to Statista, native ad spending had topped $50 billion in the US by the beginning of 2021 and is expected to rise even further. Moreover, native ads drive higher CTRs than traditional ads displayed on the site.

6. Insert Ads in Podcasts and Videos

This simple yet effective strategy applies to publishers who create videos and podcasts. The ads integrated into the videos or audio content can not be detected by the ad blocking extensions or software. 

Ad blockers employ technology that screens ad requests made by a web page and blocks any elements of the page that are on its block/hide list. The only way an adblock software can stop the ads in video/audio content is by blocking the whole web page content. Moreover, audio/video ads have a better impact than traditional display ads, which works well for advertisers. 

It is a useful strategy for content creators to serve the adblock users with quality content while ensuring that their revenue is not affected.

7. Place Ads Smartly

We have already discussed the importance of providing an enhanced user experience for monetizing adblock users. However, another crucial strategy that often gets overlooked but can help publishers is the ad placement and type of ads displayed on the webpage.

Most adblock users do not mind ads as long as they are not intrusive and cater to the user’s interests. Many users have found several brands, products, and services through ads on web pages. 

It is not the volume of ads that pushes consumers to install adblock software but the information they provide and their placement on the web page. For example, a pop-up ad blocks the user’s view of the content on the website, disrupting their experience. 

However, if the ads that are in sync with the user’s interest, blend in with the page’s interface non-intrusively and are relevant to the content, they can become an effective way of promoting sponsored content to generate revenue.

8. Secure Ad Blocker Whitelisting

Most ad blocking firms develop software that helps enhance users’ privacy and filters unwanted, intrusive, and annoying ads that affect the user experience. They do this by maintaining a blacklist of sites that they block. Conversely, if a site is in the ad blocking software’s whitelist, it stays out of its net.

As a result, several ad blocking firms charge publishers to whitelist their websites. The publishers have to pay a certain amount to have their website domain added to the whitelist of these ad blocking software companies, while the publisher also agrees to abide by certain online advertising standards.

Major ad blocking organizations run an acceptable ads program wherein they allow publishers to display ads that are less intrusive to adblock users. These acceptable ads do not include pop-ups, autoplay audio ads, or any other ad types that can disrupt the user experience.

Since digital ads are the main source of income for many publishers, they tend to give in as they do not have enough options. While this might seem a straightforward choice that works, you need to evaluate this strategy before making a final decision.

9. Implement Paywalls

Most publishers that lose money from adblock adopt a subscription model, but implementing paywalls is highly dependent on the value of your content.

In this method, you can offer access to content based on a subscription/paywall model in addition to native ads, brand ads, or direct links. 

You can interest the reader with an excerpt asking them to pay a small amount for ad-free access to the whole piece. It is advisable to keep the ads to a bare minimum since the user is accessing the page by paying a minor fee.

Cutting off dependence on ad revenue also has the advantage of freeing publishers from the hassle of dealing with invalid traffic, bot traffic, and click spam, all of which are a waste of advertising budgets.

10. Frequently Change Ad Formats

Another useful strategy to monetize adblock traffic is constantly changing your ad formats.

Adblock plugins or software use a variety of technologies to monitor and search ad content. If you change your ads settings and distribution method frequently, you can avoid ad blocking scripts.

However, it needs to be remembered that adblock organizations regularly update their software to ensure better ad-free experience for their users, and thus, evading ad blockers by frequently changing ad formats becomes a bit of a cat-and-mouse game.

Therefore, staying informed and incorporating relevant changes in your ad formats is imperative to stay on top of adblock software.

11. Display Alternate Ad Content

Another practical way to monetize adblock users is to display alternate ads to the adblock users who are unwilling to disable their ad blockers. There are multiple ways in which alternate ad content can be placed on your site. It can be a static ad that does not depend on ad calls to fill the empty slot on a web page or a simple CTA that promotes your services or products.

Various forms of alternate content that can help amplify revenue stream include :

  • Advertising podcasts with audio ads that can not be blocked,
  • Advertising Affiliate marketing offers,
  • Selling digital products,
  • Promoting social media channels.

Final Thoughts

Ever since the first adblock software launched in 2002, publishers have been constantly looking for alternate strategies to maximize ad revenue.

Many websites still rely solely on advertising to make money, but the steadily rising number of users with ad blocking tools has impacted their source of income.

While there are several strategies that can help you monetize adblock traffic, there is no guarantee that any one strategy will work for all adblock users. You need to try multiple methods in order to figure out what works best for you.

Publift has been helping publishers maximize their revenues since 2015 and we commonly see our partners encounter ad block rates of 15-40%.

We developed an ad block recovery tool that that has delivered an average 6-8% increase in page RPM for our publishing partners. The tool allows users to opt-in to view on select acceptable ads.

We’ve helped our clients realize an average 55% uplift in ad revenue since 2015, through the use of cutting-edge programmatic advertising technology paired with impartial and ethical guidance.

If you’re making more than $2,000 in monthly ad revenue, contact us today to learn more about how Publift can help increase your ad revenue and best optimize the ad space available on your website or app.

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