I mentioned Adblock as one of the cool apps that I use to help me in my daily work. It is a plugin that exists for major browsers like Firefox and Chrome. What it does is that it removes all the banners, pop-up windows and other advertising from the pages you are browsing on. I already had my banner blindness before installing Adblock so was not really attracted to click any ads but it really makes the web so much cleaner, nicer to look at and more private. Interestingly enough now if I use a browser without this plugin activated I notice all the ads much more than I used to.
More than 150 million browsers use adblockers
Adblockers are getting more popular and regularly show as some of the most downloaded plugins for both Chrome and Firefox so more and more people are discovering them. Since the Prism surveillance news broke out the trend is that people are taking better care of their own privacy online. Many websites have even started recommending ad blocking plugins to be installed. Some tech savvy audiences might be more into this than others.
This report (PDF) released in September 2014 shows that 150 million browsers are using ad blockers which is 5% of all internet users. According to the study European countries such as Denmark, Sweden, Poland and Greece are leading the trend with some 25% of users blocking ads. In general more than 50% of males between 19 and 29 years of age use adblockers.
All these factors point to a trend of more people using Adblocks so it is certainly important for bloggers to make sure that their sites work fine with the Adblock in order to keep monetizing their sites effectively.
It’s not only banners, Adblock blocks text links as well
My use of Adblock made me recognize a new feature that I wasn’t aware of. I started noticing that Adblock doesn’t only block those annoying banner ads and pop-ups. Text link ads to for example affiliate programs are being blocked as well. I always thought that the text ads were much more appealing than banner ads and they were usually much more targeted and relevant so I never had anything against them.
When I noticed Adblock blocking text links it really surprised me. Not all websites are included in the block though and on some I still see the text links and on some I don’t so I am not completely sure what factors decide that. Only one way to find if your blog is affected. Do activate Adblock Plus or one of the similar plugins and check your own site. Some of the links to affiliate programs that you have on your site might be getting blocked, if they are being blocked you will not see them at all. Your text link would miss and there would be no blank space.
How to whitelist your blog
There is a page on the Adblock Plus website where they talk about allowing acceptable ads in Adblock. Text only ads seem fine to them from reading that page. These are their rules for banner ads:
- No animations, sounds
- No attention grabbing images (preferably text only)
- No overlays or pop-ups
- Ads should be marked as “ads” or similar
Rules that apply for affiliate text links:
- Redirect should not present any other page than the destination page
- Not more than 2% of the text can be hyperlinked with affiliate links
- Should not behave or be formatted differently than other links
- Should not be misleading
First of all fix your site so it fits the instructions above. When it has been fixed fill in this application form in order to whitelist your blog. Fill in your details and add exact URL’s to pages where you display the acceptable ads. If your site is accepted you will be added to the whitelist and ads on your site will then start showing to the Adblock users. Quick process and it will let you sleep better at night knowing that your text ads are displayed to all your visitors.