Blocking the Blockers: Protecting Your Advertising Revenue in 5 Steps

paid subscription retention for digital publishers

While the Internet has largely avoided the Adblockalypse predicted in years past, publishers haven’t avoided the effects of ad blocking on their bottom line. Publishers are predicted to lose $27 billion to ad blockers by the year 2020, which means publishers with ad-driven business models must take measures to secure this revenue if they haven’t already done so.

By assessing your onsite advertising, deploying adblock detection, and crafting a strategy to address your visitors behind blockers, you can hold onto your ad revenue. Here are five steps you can use to save this revenue stream.

1) First, improve your onsite ad experience.

While many publishers loaded down their sites with ads in an attempt to increase ad revenue, publishers are often finding that the opposite is true. Reducing ad load can often increase your ad revenue.

That’s because frustrating, invasive ad experiences are what popularized ad blocking in the first place. As increasing ad load slowed the web to a halt, audiences sought ways to clean up the experience. Even the browsers themselves got into the game: earlier this year, an update to Google Chrome began blocking all ads on sites that miss the standards set by the Coalition for Better Ads, while Firefox announced new tracking protections just this week.

By serving better ads and improving the user experience, you’ll set yourself up for greater success in getting audiences to drop ad blockers.

2) Detect your ad blocking visitors.

Of course, to deal with ad-blocking audiences, you first have to know who’s blocking your ads. That requires detection technology. Among others, PostUp’s audience development solutions provide ways for publishers to detect which visitors use ad blockers.

Once you have the technology to detect ad blockers in place, you can effectively target your ad-blocking audience with an array of tactics.

3) Show your blocking visitors a message that explains the value exchange of onsite advertising.

When a visitor behind a blocker comes to your site, use your detection technology to deploy a message that explains why ads are necessary to continue receiving your content.

If you have a dedicated, loyal audience, a sliding box that explains the purpose served by advertising may be enough to persuade some visitors to allow ads. Other visitors may not even be aware their browser is blocking ads and will oblige if asked to turn them off.

For the rest of your audience, you might need to go one step further.

4) Adjust the onsite experience for users with ad blocking software.

For users who refuse to drop blockers on their own, you can provide additional incentives to do so. Use your ad blocking detection technology to tweak the user experience in response to these users. This could be through:

  • Placing stricter limits on content for ad blocking users. If you offer a paid subscription product behind a metered paywall, you can subject ad blockers to a tighter wall that throttles their free articles until they drop the blocker or sign up for a newsletter. Of course, you may have users who attempt to circumvent restrictions by browsing in private or incognito mode. To prevent these users from slipping through, you can use detection technology to restrict access to these users as well.
  • Leveraging email in exchange for content. Allow ad-blocking users to proceed to your site if they give you their email address. This way, your users get content, and you get a way to monetize your ad blocking audience in the inbox, largely outside the realm of ad blockers. There, you can drive ad revenue with powerful email monetization solutions, such as in-email programmatic ads, direct-sold ads, and dedicated sends that command high CPMs. Even better, if you offer paid premium subscriptions, email is the most effective way of nurturing casual audiences into paying subscribers (and making sure they stay paid subscribers too.

You might also try other ways of getting users to act. Different audiences will respond to different tactics, which means you’ll need to find the one that works best for you.

5) Test to see what approach best fits your audience.

While some publishers may get visitors to drop blockers with a soft ask, other may need to put more restrictive policies in place. A publisher with a reputation for valuable content may find that strict limitations persuade ad blocking users to whitelist their site, while publishers with less engaged audiences or high social referrals may see a high bounce rate if they try to do the same.

As with any site changes, it’s important to test what works and tweak your approach to maximize ad revenue.

To learn more about taking back your lost ad revenue, grab our updated Ad Blocking Playbook. Use the 3 plays in this eBook to deal with ad blockers, develop your audience, and create a lasting revenue stream in the inbox.

Content Marketing Coordinator, PostUp