Everyone needs an Ad-blocker Strategy

Advertising is a time-honored part of the publishing world. The digital space, however, has changed the game.

‘Banner blindness’ keeps readers from registering the content of banner ads. And for any kind of pop-up ad, over 30% of site visitors have installed ad-blockers. Many browsers now build in ad blocking.

Fortunately, there are ways around this. We’ve discussed creative solutions to the digital advertising dilemma: sponsored content, native advertising, or for local news sources, dedicated marketplaces like LiveMarket and VillageSoup.

But there’s an even more basic solution to some of your digital advertising woes: fighting back against the ad-blocker itself.

You are smarter than the ad-blocker

The first step to any effective anti ad-blocker strategy is to choose a plug-in that circumvents ad-blocking software. There are any number of them: Adblocker Notify, Adblock X, Adblocking Detector, Simple Adblock Notice, Block Adblock – the list goes on (and the plug-in titles don’t get anymore creative).

Though each one offers a different set of features, they mostly operate on the same principle. Here’s how it goes: Ad-blocking plug-ins kick in when a new site or page is loaded. They do a one-time sweep for bits of third party ad code that they’ve identified as being problematic. They shut those ads down. And then they switch off until a new page is opened.

In other words: ad-blocking is a single event.

This is the weakness that most anti-ad-blockers have pounced upon. Some of them put a time-delay on the loading of advertising content, so that the ads don’t appear until the ad-blocker has gone back to sleep.

That leaves you an opportunity to pop-up a message to your readers. That’s where your real strategy kicks in.

The simplest solution: just ask

Your first option is to wait for the ad-blocker to run its sweep and retire and then pop-up a message simply asking your readers to turn off their ad-blockers (or to whitelist your site). Explain that you know it can be annoying but that advertising revenue helps keep your publication publishing.

It sounds simplistic but about 6% of readers will actually do it. That’s getting something for nothing.

But what about subscriptions?

The other two options are the same in format but different in intent. You pop-up a message after the ad-blocker is asleep.

Your second option is simply to ask them to subscribe, in lieu of allowing your ads to display: “We understand that ads are annoying but revenue is required for all this content you love. Please help us help you by subscribing.” Some publishers choose to turn off ads entirely for paying subscribers.

The third option is a softer, more indirect appeal: instead of asking flat-out for a subscription, ask for an email address. Entice them to join your email list, with the promise of first looks at content and an amazing newsletter.

While it’s not a direct line to your wallet, getting people on your email list puts them in the pipeline to subscription. Readers on your email list are ten times more likely to subscribe.

That’s a pretty good number.

Whatever you choose, choose something. In this day and age, everyone needs an ad-blocker strategy. And if you can turn a negative into a positive by building your subscriptions along the way, well, why wouldn’t you?

Want to learn more about gaining more paid subscriptions? Let’s talk.