I mentioned an adblocker as one of the cool apps that I use to help me in my daily work. It’s a plugin that exists for major browsers such as Safari, 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 an adblocker so was not really attracted to click any ads, but it does make the web so much cleaner, nicer to look at, faster to load 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.
Adblockers are getting more and more popular, especially with the younger generation. We’ll look at some numbers further down in the post. This might affect the earning potential you have with your blog so it’s worth making sure to check how your own site looks with an adblocker activated. Are the banners displaying? Are your affiliate text links working fine?
Here’s a bit more on how you can make sure everything is cool with your monetization method even if your visitors are using adblockers.
More than 600 million online users block ads
Adblockers are getting more popular and regularly show as some of the most downloaded plugins for both Chrome and Firefox. This helps more and more people to discover them.
Since the Prism surveillance news broke out the trend is that people are taking better care of their own privacy online. Adblockers also help you load websites faster and conserve your mobile data. Many websites have even started recommending ad blocking plugins to be installed.
Some tech-savvy audiences and younger people might be more into the adblockers than others segments of the population. If your audience consists of younger people or of tech-savvy people, your ability to make money on your blog might be suffering.
This report showed that 200 million desktop browsers used ad blockers in June 2015. 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 men between 19 and 29 years of age use adblockers.
A more recent study, published in June 2016, shows that 420 million people block advertising when browsing the web on their mobile phones. 36% of mobile phone users in Asia-Pacific have adblockers installed. 66%+ of people in India and Indonesia have adblockers on.
All these factors point to a trend of an increasing number of people using adblockers. It’s certainly important for bloggers to make sure that their sites work fine with the Adblock in order to keep monetizing their sites effectively. If you’re worried about your money-making opportunities, do continue reading this post for possible solutions.
It’s not only banners; adblockers may limit text links as well
My use of an adblocker 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. Some of the links to affiliate programs that you have on your site might be getting blocked. Only one way to find if your blog is affected.
Do activate Adblock Plus, uBlock or one of the similar plugins and check your own site. Do your banner ads display at all? How about the affiliate text links? If they are being blocked you will not see them at all. Your text link would be removed and there would be no blank space.
This is not a positive news and could decrease your earning. But there are some things you can do to stop adblock from blocking your text links.
What type of advertising is accepted by adblockers?
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
It basically means that you should not use any intrusive ways to display advertising. If you do, you will be blocked.
Rules that apply to affiliate text links are:
- 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
These rules seem very reasonable. Your affiliate links should not be any more intrusive than any other link or any other text you have on your blog. Keep it all consistent in the way it looks and functions.
How to whitelist your blog
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. It’s a very quick process and it will let you sleep better at night knowing that your text ads are displayed to all your visitors.
The process went very smoothly for me and my site was whitelisted. My text links to affiliate offers are working fine. I do not monetize with banner ads so I have no problem with that but for those of you monetizing with banners there are couple of options:
- Make sure that any banner that is displayed on your blog fits within the guidelines above. No animation and sounds. Preferably text only and marked as ads. No pop-ups either.
- Obviously, this does restrict the type of banner advertising you can display but in my opinion, it’s better to follow the rules rather than not have your banners show up at all.
- Go through the application form above and get your site whitelisted too.
Future proof your site by monetizing without banners
Note that this problem will not go away and may become worse in the future. My opinion is that banner ads and other intrusive advertising will go away soon and be replaced by better monetization options. These are the monetization options that I recommend.
Maybe this can help you get ahead of the trend. It can help you think about how you can move yourself from banner ads into other options such as native ads, sponsorships and/or affiliate marketing. This is what my recommendation is to you. Consider alternative monetization options from today. They’re better for your users and they’re more effective as well.
You’ll be safer and more future proof by doing this. It will also allow you to focus on other tasks such as the creation of great content that people want to consume and getting more visitors to come and read your posts (with an adblocker activated or not). Good luck!