Even publishers can probably sympathize with this scenario: just when you think you’ve found the exact article you were looking for, an ad pops up, a video starts screaming at you and instead of waiting out the obnoxious commercial, you just close the site. This ad is generating revenue for the publisher of that article, but it’s actually counterproductive in the way it drives visitors away.
The solution many Internet users have found for this annoyance is ad-blocker, a browser extension that eliminates all ads on a page, whether they pop up, are in the side bar or make up the header banner. This extension is devastating to publishers trying to bring in profits by selling ad space. When those ads don’t appear, potential profits disappear.
The root of the problem is how disruptive ads have become. Publishers are addressing the dilemma of ad-blocker and customer perception with various methods, but getting to the root of the problem solves the bigger issue of improving online advertising.
How Did Publishers Get Here?
Once online publishers realized the potential of the unlimited space a web page provided, they began with strategic placement and targeting goals. But as the success of these ads grew, so did the amount of ads per page. Soon, ads became wallpaper, flashing banners, noisy sidebars and the infamous pop-up.
This content was impossible to ignore, breeze over and let blend in with the original composition. Powerful advertising demands to be seen because of its catchy one liners, interesting visuals and relatable messaging. The noise became unbearable for many readers just trying to get to the meat of the site.
Then ad-blocker came to their rescue because advertisers and publishers had created a crowded environment. While there is no one-size-fits-all solution for increasing profits gained from ads, publishers and marketers should be aware that the less ads a page has, the more successful they will be. A study from SAY Media revealed that
“100% of website visitors will view an ad if there is only one per page; that drops to 76% when the number of ads increases to more than one. “
Simplicity and subtly go a long way when trying to communicate with customers. This should be applied to advertising strategy, but also to other solutions combating the adverse effects of ad-blocker.
Block Them Back
Instead of avoiding the issue of ad-blocker, many publications have decided to face it head-on. They don’t ignore it. They don’t try to implement software that attacks the ad-blocker back. They politely address it directly. They block readers back.
“Instead of avoiding the issue of ad-blocker, many publications have decided to face it head-on.”
Before allowing access to content, the publisher can create a gateway asking the reader to disable ad-blocker for this site. Forbes has used this method with great success. When it’s evident a user has ad-blocker installed, a message appears saying, “Looks like you’re using an ad blocker. Please turn it off in order to continue into Forbes ad-light experience.” The company reports that 42.3% of readers have followed the instructions or white listed the site to enable ads.
An even more impressive number from that report is the 63 million ad impressions that would not have been made otherwise. That’s even on the “ad-light experience,” a version of Forbes that reduces the ads for 30 days. The company is still exploring options for what an ad-light site will look like and what comes after that, but the risk in addressing ad-blocker directly seems to be paying off.
Messages with Meaning
The key to using this blunt initiative is to create a brief, but meaningful message. Craft a message that sounds like a real person talking. It’s best to avoid wording that is full of marketing jargon or reads too stiffly. The personal element will appeal to the reader who doesn’t always realize there are writers and experts behind all this content who depend on advertising revenue.
Speaking genuinely about the issue shows it’s really affecting you as a publisher. And just like a real-world conversation, kind, straightforward instructions go a long way. For example, “As we depend on advertising to fund our journalism, please disable any ad blockers from running on this site, then reload the page.”
And finally, make sure to thank your readers for doing this. It will keep them coming back. Then you can move forward with a modified advertising plan that helps generate more profits, targets customers appropriately and doesn’t drive your readers mad.
Unblock-able content recommendation
Another strategy to combat ad-blocker is to use personalized content recommendations using advertiser’s content or your own. Directing readers to more articles, blog posts and conversations they would be interested in changes the way they view online advertising. A tailored experience that doesn’t disrupt their reading leads them to further explore your site and trust ads more willingly.
A BrightInfo solution supplies the tools to generate these types of ads to enhance a reader’s experience of your site. The best part is that because a BrightInfo ad is an internal source, it is not blocked by the ad-blocker. So even if all those surrounding ads have disappeared, the BrightInfo ad with your content links will still appear alongside whatever your visitor is reading.
The potential to direct them to additional content is a powerful counteract to ad-blocker. If your messages are humanistic, your appeal against ad-blocker is considerate and your internal ads are pointing them in the right direction, you can give your readers a truly personalized experience and still gain profits from your advertising.