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Let's Talk About Ad Blockers…

There’s a lot of talk lately about ad blockers, especially in advertising industry circles. Ad blockers have always been around but seeing them become mainstream is a problem. The web was built as a source of free content supported by ads – much like network television was in it’s infancy. People need to understand that by doing everything they can to avoid ads online they are inevitably going to force all digital media publishers to charge for access to their content. It’s the same basic principal as people not wanting to pay any taxes and then being upset when the bridge you’re driving to work on crumbles beneath you.

Ad blockers have been around for years and they are really starting to proliferate as the web and mobile take over for television as the go to household media sources. Some of these new ad blockers are actually “pay to play” which is ironic to say the least. There is also news that they are striking deals with some networks so that they almost become a “toll booth” for advertisers more than any kind of actual consumer ad blocker. It’s a complicated scenario to say the least, but it’s not the end of the world.

What publishers need to realize here is that ad blockers are mostly designed for the websites and apps that are ridiculously spammy and overloaded with ads. If you’re a wise publisher you don’t overweight your content with too many ads and actually care about the user experience on your site. The old model used to be to try and squeeze as many ads as you could on every page to get the highest yield out of your impressions – that doesn’t work anymore. The best way in 2015 to get a good yield out of the ad real estate on your website is to strategically place 3 maybe 4 ads on each page so that they get the best visibility without detracting from your content. This way if something interesting does pop up a user is more likely to interact with it. When you weight your page with 10+ ads (like this one that currently has 13 ) you not only make the experience poor for the user, you also create load time problems and other issues. A lot of the ads on the website mentioned above are duplicates so the owner is likely only being paid for about half the impressions he’s actually getting and losing a lot of the benefits of having a site people want to stay on.

Finally, a recent study by AdExchanger shows that 71% of AdBlock users would “White List” sites that aren’t overloading them with ads. This is great news, as a publisher of online content who monetizes via ads the best way to stay above the fray is to make sure you stay in line with best practices. Don’t overload your page with ads, be tasteful. Ad Blockers have been around since ad networks began and while there is a lot of hype over them at the moment due to the iOS9 news – they aren’t going to kill the digital publishing business. Publishers will find ways around them and publishers with great content who present it in a clean and readable way will continue to reap the rewards.