The Adblock Dilemma – What’s the impact of Adblockers on your site?

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Unsurprisingly, Adblockers belong to the list of most annoying things for website owners and online advertisers.

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Publishers lose substantial revenues that they need to operate their sites, often with little sympathy from users who are annoyed by intrusive ads and sensitised by adblock software, which demonises even anonymous tracking methods. Although Adblock Plus claims only to block “annoying” ads, regular ads are also blocked, independent of their design, placement or content.

By downloading adblocking software, users are actively protesting against invasive digital ads. This should be taken seriously by publishers and advertisers alike. The content, its value to the user and the user experience should be the core focus of any website. Ads should neither impact the functionality of a website in a negative way nor disturb comfortable consumption of its content.

However, publishers simply aren’t able to offer quality services and content to users without advertising. Even smaller bloggers have to incur costs for their website and the content they produce. The more the site grows, the more these expenditures will rise. Therefore for bigger publishers that have salaries to pay, high costs for software they’re using, or technical security measures to protect their users, additional ads or other sources of income are needed.

AdBlock & Affiliate Marketing

Regular affiliate banners and links (with the exception of postview display) must be clicked and converted into a sale to generate commission for the publisher. Therefore, it’s likely that affiliates will choose to use carefully-selected, targeted ads that are of high interest to their users. On the Awin network, we rarely see “annoying” ad formats being used, as our publishers tend to use standard banner formats and text links.

Are my ads being blocked?

Not all ads are blocked on all sites, and the criteria isn’t always clear. Some advertising companies are paying to get whitelisted* by AdBlock Plus’ acceptable ads programme, leading some commentators such as the IAB to view their monetisation model as extortion.

In our tests, we saw that a simple 300×250 banner – the only, unobtrusive advertisement on a private blog – had been blocked by Adblock Plus. Our tested text links were not blocked, although this also can happen in some cases. Additionally some native ads format were blocked, others weren’t.

To check if your ads are being blocked, we recommend installing Adblock Plus and checking the functionality of banners, text links, and other adformats or tracking technology.

Adblock Counter

The percentage of adblock users differ from site to site, depending on the target group. It is said that websites with games and tech-related content have a much higher rate of adblock users than other sites, such as beauty blogs. In a study conducted by PageFair, adblocking rates ranged from 1.5% to as much as 65%, averaging 23% for all 200 analysed sites.

To find out how big the loss might be on your site, an adblock counter can prove useful. We found a simple solution for Google Analytics here. Alternatively, check out this tutorial, using the Google Tag Manager.

WordPress users can find plugins in the plugin directory, such as Blockalyzer or AdBlock X.

In our next weekly tips, we will explore ways to deal with adblock users, such as displaying alternative messages to educate them about the importance of advertisements for your site.


*Adblock Plus claims, that the payments are independent of the whitelisting and only ads that match certain criteria are whitelisted. However, for big companies, it‘s not possible to get whitelisted without paying, even if their ads match the criteria. Smaller Publishers can whitelist their sites for free. More information here.

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