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 such as 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.
Adblockers are getting more and more popular, especially with the younger generation. They might affect the earning potential you have with your blog so it is worth making sure how your own site looks with adblock on. Are the banners displaying? Are the 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 sing adblock.
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 and younger people might be more into the adblocks than others segements.
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. If you’re worried, do continue reading this post for possible solutions.
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.
This is not a positive news and could decrease your earning. But there is some things you can do to stop adblock from blocking your text links.
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.
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. Marked as ads. No pop-ups. Obviously it does restrict the type of banner you can display but in my opinion it is better to do it like this then not have your banners show up at all.
- Go through the application form above and get your site whitelisted too.
- 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 options. Maybe you can get ahead of the trend and think about how to move yourself from banner ads into other options such as native ads, sponsorship or affiliate marketing. This is what my recommendation would be to you. You will be more safe and will be able to focus on other tasks such as creation of great posts that people want and getting more of them to come and visit you (with Adblocker on or not).