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Ad Blocking Report - 22 billion in lost revenue

The lost ad revenue figures will double in 2016

     
5:31 pm on Aug 10, 2015 (gmt 0)

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From the folks at Marketingland:

Ad-blocking software, once thought to be a relatively small-scale phenomenon, is apparently rapidly going mainstream. According to a new report from Adobe and PageFair — an Irish company founded in 2012 that “measure[s] the cost of adblocking and display[s] alternative non-intrusive advertising to adblockers” — $21.8 billion in global ad revenues have been blocked/lost so far in 2015.


[marketingland.com...]

TL:DR: If you think ad blockers aren't affecting you, you may be wrong. They're everywhere now. Firefox. Safari. Edge. And it's only going to get worse.
8:13 pm on Aug 10, 2015 (gmt 0)

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So what is the solution?
8:35 pm on Aug 10, 2015 (gmt 0)

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$21.8 billion in global ad revenues have been blocked/lost so far in 2015.

Bummer, all that "mistaken click revenue" lost for the AdSense Publishers.

I've been blocking ads ever since there was software to do it. You'd be surprised at how many sites are void of content once you block ads.

So what is the solution?

Stealth Advertising
8:49 pm on Aug 10, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Well I've two solutions:

- pagefair.com shows ads to people who use and Adblockers but you don't earn much with it.

- I've a script that shows a popup to everyone with an Adblocker. Only problem is it shows it every pageview and I want to show it just once a day or once an couple of hours. The popup shows a message you can edit but I ask the visitor to whitelist the website because advertisements makes the website possible.
9:07 pm on Aug 10, 2015 (gmt 0)

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I wrote a little something into my analytics that shows me the percentage of pageviews with blocked ads. It's as high as 45% on some sites, mostly the ones with a more technical audience. I'd like to think I could be making twice as much (and cringe a little), but then realize those users probably wouldn't click on many ads anyway, and while I'm still losing revenue to them, I'm trying to make up for it by dynamically replacing the blocked network ads with other banners.
9:41 pm on Aug 10, 2015 (gmt 0)

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I've recently noticed a huge increase in the number of ads on YouTube. I can't believe more people are not using the AdBlocker for YouTube. That would destroy YouTube.
10:40 pm on Aug 10, 2015 (gmt 0)

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but then realize those users probably wouldn't click on many ads anyway

Well that is the bottom line, it always has been, it will always be that way.

It also has to be remembered that the incidence of Ads on sites has exploded in recent years to the point it is often difficult to differentiate between content and ads. I can well understand why some people would resort to Ad Blockers in sheer frustration - Publishers can blame themselves for that - it is called greed.

Most people who surf the internet are somewhat aware that "Free Information" sites are supported by Google AdSense [or similar] and/or Affiliate Income. When it becomes "in your face" then the need for Ad Blockers rise - everyone suffers.

I deal with basics, my visitors site experience is paramount to me. My sites were NEVER created with the view to monetising them, escalating costs back in 1998 only made that a necessity. I don't consider it a privilege for folks to come to my sites, I'm the one privileged to have them come and visit. If I'm adversely affected by Ad Blockers, then I'm simply collateral damage for those who have created the need for blockers in the first place.

Defeating Ad Blockers? Telling visitors not to use Ad Blockers? I suspect that would become self defeating over time. If I'm going to buy something on the internet and I often do - it doesn't come from advertising. I either go to eBay or directly to known sites dealing in the product I'm interested in. Yes - Mr. AdSense follows me for months with Ads for for motherboards, HDD, memory - which I have already purchased. Even dog tags recently!
1:43 am on Aug 11, 2015 (gmt 0)

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but then realize those users probably wouldn't click on many ads anyway


That's irrelevant when you've got a high traffic site and you make substantial sums from CPM ads. I've lost hundreds of dollars a month from blocked impressions alone.

I now run a nag modal for users who run adblockers. It's aggressive and annoying for them but I no longer care. They can take it or leave it. Most seem to take it, though I've had three fairly hateful messages calling me every name under the sun for blocking adblockers.
1:50 am on Aug 11, 2015 (gmt 0)

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I deal with basics, my visitors site experience is paramount to me. My sites were NEVER created with the view to monetising them, escalating costs back in 1998 only made that a necessity.


My visitors' site experience is paramount to me too. That's why I gave up my day job and moved into Adsense publishing full time, so I could expand my sites, write/design more content, work on their UI, etc.

I don't know many successful Adsense publishers who set up their site to make money. Most did it because they love writing and publishing, because they had something of value to share. The underlying premise with adblocking is that we should be doing that for free. It's the same pernicious mindset that thinks writers or teachers should work for peanuts because they love the job, not because the job is worth a d**n. Well cods to that.
2:33 am on Aug 11, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Everybody gotta decide for themselves. Me, I can't see blocking the ad blockers, but I can understand why some people would want or need to do it. I don't think it will work out longterm in most cases, but I don't have another solution other than maybe subscription or donation. Subscription would work great for some of my sites, but not so much for others.

I'm interested in knowing how people are actually measuring users with ad blockers. Is that real data, or speculation?
2:57 am on Aug 11, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Is Ad Blocking Theft?

[venturebeat.com...]
3:37 am on Aug 11, 2015 (gmt 0)

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I don't think it will work out longterm in most cases


Nor do I, but it will do until a reasonable solution presents itself. Things will have to change sooner or later. If it doesn't then the only people who can afford to professionally publish online are governments and big business, which entails other problems.

Adblock Plus blackmailing 30% out of ad networks was the last straw for me. A clear sign that adblocking has become a revenue diverting industry rather than some benign entity.
4:22 am on Aug 11, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Is Ad Blocking Theft?

I most certainly don't think so.

There are many sites I formerly visited which have moved to a subscription basis - primarily news sites. Even at a modest monthly subscription, their content is simply not worth the money for me. The same information is often available elsewhere - yes there are proprietary articles only available for the subscribers, but other commentators often fill that void with critical quotes any way.

Calling Ad Blocking Theft is to me quite an arrogant response [intended or not intended].

While I do not wholly subscribe to the theory "The Internet is Free" which mostly implies to a great many people that plagiarism is perfectly OK, if we put our content onto the internet, then it should be available to everybody.

If you honestly believe Ad Blocking is theft, then move to an alternative model. Allow market forces to dictate whether your decision was a wise one or not.

All I know is that the proliferation of "obtrusive" advertising will ultimately harm us all. I've been on the internet a long time - I'm always here for the long haul - until I pass away. Everyone else can make their own personal decisions based upon commercial considerations. Commercial considerations I don't personally have.

Yes - dead easy for me to say.
6:29 am on Aug 11, 2015 (gmt 0)

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No, I wouldn't say it's theft. It's more like freeloading. Kind of like staying at someone's house, using their power and eating their food - but not paying rent because is "rent is annoying". Or dodging tolls by driving around a checkpoint because "tolls are annoying". Someone else can pay for these things I'm using, just don't annoy me.
8:05 am on Aug 11, 2015 (gmt 0)

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I'm interested in knowing how people are actually measuring users with ad blockers. Is that real data, or speculation?

I believe it's fairly accurate. On "load" I simply check whether the ad was actually loaded, and then send that data to the server and optionally load an alternative ad. Works with all the major ad blockers I tested.
11:25 am on Aug 11, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Hopefully, this will eliminate all the made for adsense sites that waste my time, and there are a lot of them out there. They have the knowledge to outrank good sites but not the knowledge to provide what i am looking for.
12:43 pm on Aug 11, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Is Ad Blocking Theft?


You probably couldn't make that argument unless you make it part of your terms and conditions and warn your users ahead of time. And even then, I dunno if it would stand up in court in the US. Maybe, maybe not.
1:00 pm on Aug 11, 2015 (gmt 0)

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I'm frightened of ad blocking and I recognize the threat it poses, but I really don't think it's an existential one for most U.S. sites unless it becomes the default for browsers, rather than a setting that users have to opt in on their own. If/when that happens, that would really be worrying.

There are, are course, alternatives if you have a sizeable and attractive audience to advertisers, like native advertising (such as sponsored content or sponsored posts) and you always can create an email list that advertisers would want to buy ads in. Those are lots of work to create and get going, but worth it when you can create them.

I am definitely concerned, especially because Google AdSense makes the process of displaying and getting paid from advertising so easy. Having to sell sponsored posts on a one-off basis to every single advertiser is a lot of work. But some people seem determined to kill the goose that laid the golden egg, it seems.
1:38 pm on Aug 11, 2015 (gmt 0)

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- I've a script that shows a popup to everyone with an Adblocker. Only problem is it shows it every pageview and I want to show it just once a day or once an couple of hours. The popup shows a message you can edit but I ask the visitor to whitelist the website because advertisements makes the website possible.


A popup on every pageview is punitive. I'd prefer a carrot approach: "Whitelist mysite.com and earn a FREE digital download" similar to what I have to encourage newsletter subscriptions.
1:44 pm on Aug 11, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Kind of like staying at someone's house, using their power and eating their food - but not paying rent because is "rent is annoying".

Or, driving on public roads and tax dodging, taking a slice of pizza without paying or permission, sneaking into the baseball game by climbing the fence, car pooling and not paying your fair share of gas and so on....

All I know is that the proliferation of "obtrusive" advertising will ultimately harm us all.

I guarantee you that the proliferation of ad-blocking will harm everybody even more… Eventually, free access goes away for the ad blockers and even more aggressive revenue models appear.

Nothing is free and when sincere quality publishers figure out that they have to foot the bill for hard work - they move on...
2:45 pm on Aug 11, 2015 (gmt 0)

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I'm interested in knowing how people are actually measuring users with ad blockers. Is that real data, or speculation?


I have the same question regarding my own sites as I really have no clue how many people are using Ad Blockers. I looked at some WordPress plugins and found one with a recent addition to the change log that indicates it provides statistics on Ad Blockers. The plugin does't appear to block those users but rather give you the ability to show them some sort of different message or content in your ad space.

I have not used this Plugin nor am I in any way affiliated with it but figure for those of you looking for a solution maybe it would be a good fit? Here it is:

[wordpress.org...]
4:19 pm on Aug 11, 2015 (gmt 0)

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I wonder if the proliferation of ad blockers won't make online advertising more obtrusive as advertisers scramble to squeeze more out of a diminishing audience, effectively making it worse for the people who do not use ad blockers, and in turn probably turning more users toward them. Publishers, too, will have to find ways to make up for lost revenue, and not everyone has a content model that allows for alternatives as (relatively) clean as display advertising. I know of plenty of small software businesses, for example, that can maintain and give away their programs for free simply because there are ads on their websites. Once those returns diminish, they'll have to start charging for the software, close up shop or (perhaps most likely) start bundling adware, which I find far more obtrusive. Ad blocking doesn't sound like much of a win for users either. It's mostly win-win for the ad blockers, who are and will be making a hefty profit. Nothing wrong with an Acceptable Ads initiative, of course, but I highly doubt that ad blockers are going to make that happen.

Google has previously removed ad blockers from the Play Store. They could do the same in the Chrome Web Store, but it's a lot harder (and costlier) to jump from one mobile OS to another than it is to switch browsers, so they probably fear the backlash more.
4:24 am on Aug 12, 2015 (gmt 0)

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An important point is missed. Ad blockers block (virtually with a default installation):

- ad links and banner/image/video links,
- social media links/buttons,
- affiliate links,
- any other 'obstructive' content,
- tracking links/cookies.

They can block all possible revenue and marketing sources (not only Adsense).
1:08 pm on Aug 12, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Do people who use ad blockers also demand that the local newspaper print an edition without any advertising because ads annoy them?

Does the local paper comply?

.
1:57 pm on Aug 12, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Do people who use ad blockers also demand that the local newspaper print an edition without any advertising because ads annoy them?

It's been a while since I've held a newspaper but if I remember correctly, ads were unobtrusive and you couldn't mistakenly click on them?

I decided to block them due to the number of times "I", "myself", have mistakenly clicked on one. I've seen some really nifty implementations of ads that the average Internet user could easily be tricked into clicking. I'd really like to know what percentage of revenues come from "mistaken clicks". I've watched folks who are technically challenged browse websites. It's a painful experience to watch too. They end up clicking on things not knowing what the heck is going on. They have multiple tabs open, multiple browser sessions, popups, popunders, you name it! Their frustration is palpable.

What's the solution? I could list out some pretty nifty alternatives but I am absolutely sure all of YOU are aware of those, there is no need to publish them. If you've got a site and there are ads in every available position and the page starts off with an ad, you're a prime candidate for ad blocking. Get those ads out of the initial viewport content. Let the user get comfortable with the page before you start throwing obtrusive advertising at them. Folks have just gotten way too greedy with their advertising implementations and the answer to that is Ad Blocking. I'm thankful it's available.

If your site relies solely on advertising to survive, you need to think about how to change the current model because it's not working anymore for many. If your site receives a large amount of traffic, I would think using your own native advertising methods would be most beneficial? You know, a few strategically placed visual graphics here and there. Pages devoted to sponsors. Special promotions from sponsors. I can think of all sorts of ways to advertise without disrupting my visitors browsing experience. What people are doing these days is unacceptable and Google is Cash Rich because of it.

On a side note, if I browse to a site and a modal automagically appears, I usually hit my back button. Those modals create confusion for a whole generation of users. Especially when you "hide the X" like many do. That generation I'm referring to doesn't know you can click outside the modal to close it, they're sitting there looking for an "X" or something that reads "Close". I've watched users lean towards their displays and move their head around looking for that damn "Close" function - me Mom is one of them.
2:53 pm on Aug 12, 2015 (gmt 0)

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I agree with absolutely everything P1R wrote there..I've seen the same things..especially the way non webmasters click around on sites ( not my sites ), be it on desktops, laptops, tablets, or phones..I figure that probably 95% of adsense clicks ( if not more ) are accidental..<= wasted money for the advertisers..
3:21 pm on Aug 12, 2015 (gmt 0)

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If you've got a site and there are ads in every available position and the page starts off with an ad, you're a prime candidate for ad blocking.


The problem with this is that , at least as far as I know, ad blockers don't discriminate between one ad per page, and 23 ads per page.

They just block all ads they find.
3:38 pm on Aug 12, 2015 (gmt 0)

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I'm experimenting with this so I searched for "Ad Blocker" in Firefox Add-ons. It returned 130 different results. I installed Adblock Plus and by default it doesn't remove social media buttons. It did remove all AdSense Ads as well as Matched Content. So one positive thing is that someone that is using Adblock Plus could still easily share content using those buttons and the odds are it would be shared with someone that isn't using an Ad Blocker program.
4:04 pm on Aug 12, 2015 (gmt 0)

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The problem with this is that , at least as far as I know, ad blockers don't discriminate between one ad per page, and 23 ads per page.

It discriminates based on ad networks, you can configure in most instances.

I installed Adblock Plus and by default it doesn't remove social media buttons.

Many of the Ad Blockers are configurable and by default do not block "unobstrusive ads".
From Adblock Plus...
Unobtrusive ads aren't being blocked in order to support websites.

On a side note, I'd like to see some statistics regarding "Mistaken Click Revenue" and the amount of "Revenue by Generation" e.g. Mature/Silents, Baby Boomers, Generation X. Me gut instinct tells me that more Ad Revenues are generated by the Mature/Silents, Baby Boomers Generations. Why? Because these are the folks most technically challenged in most instances and the ones who are blindly clicking around websites trying to figure out what is what. They see so many different messages and when there are ads interspersed in those messages (that are very targeted) they end up clicking thinking it's part of the website they are on. But no, it's a damn ad and now a new tab has opened and they don't know it or you hear them say "oh schit, what did I just do, why did the website change?" I'm serious, these are real user comments. Once you reach 50+ and start watching your non-techie friends use the Internet, you truly understand how frustrating ads are for at least two (2) Generations of users.
4:11 pm on Aug 12, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Do people who use ad blockers also demand that the local newspaper print an edition without any advertising because ads annoy them?


Our local newspaper print edition (the Ann Arbor News) went out of business, the first of many. There is sort of a #*$! online version of it, that is riddled with intrusive ads. Even the Detroit Free Press only gets delivered once or twice a week. The rest of the time, you have to subscribe to see what's beyond the paywall. I grew up reading those two newspapers every day since I'm maybe 5 or 6.

I'd really like to know what percentage of revenues come from "mistaken clicks".


Won't win any popularity contests with this one, but I believe that Google has gotten better at detecting these, and that it might have something to do with some (not all) of the revenue drops that people have experienced. And is why I feel pretty good about keeping my ads in the sidebars and not the content. And it might be why that mobile anchor ad experiment dragged my revenue down for the last three months before I had it removed.

There are favorite sites (<cough>looking at you, Slate, <cough> who so overdo it with advertising of all types that it's ruined it for everyone. The long term solution will never be more ads, more in your face.
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