What You Need to Know About Ad Blockers and User Activity

Some people blog for fun and have zero interest in actually making any money from their blogging exploits. Some people blog professionally as a means of networking and growing their business, so the blog itself doesn’t make any money directly. For all the other blogs out there that at least have some ambition to make some money, advertising is going to enter the conversation.

Advertising on websites and blogs has changed a lot over the years and has taken on many different forms. During that time, the prevalence of ad blockers has continued to increase, seemingly making it increasingly difficult for website owners and bloggers to make money from their sites. If the visitors don’t see your ads, you’re probably not generating revenue from their visits.

Studying User Behavior and Opinions

A study was conducted by HubSpot that looked into this phenomenon and how ad blockers are affecting marketers, advertisers and content creators.


It’s important to note just how far-reaching ad blockers can be. If you have a banner that’s being paid out on a CPM basis, you’re being affected. If you run AdSense or other (mostly) CPC-based ads, you’re being affected. If you’re an affiliate marketer with CPA/CPS ads, you’re being affected. All said, ad blocking is estimated to be responsible for $22 billion in lost revenue annually and that number continues to grow.

The way that most conventional ad blockers work is that they preload any scripts that the website is trying to serve, comparing them against a known database of ads. If they match, they’re blocked.

People Don’t Like Being Annoyed

Not surprisingly, the biggest reason why most users use ad blockers in the first place is that they find the advertising to be “annoying” or “intrusive.” Of the people surveyed for HubSpot’s report, 64% indicated as such. Users also find ads disruptive (54%) and think they could pose a security risk ($39%). Pop-ups, auto-playing videos and online video ads are the most disliked ad types online.

In fact, some 70% of those surveyed said that they would have “a lower opinion of a company that uses pop-up advertisement.” As a content creator or marketer, this really should be taken to heart. If someone doesn’t think highly of you, they probably won’t be back, let alone consider doing business with you.

But They’re Not Willing to Open Their Wallets

But herein lies a remarkable paradox. While a growing number of online users find that advertising is annoying, intrusive or disruptive, they’re also not really willing to pay to have those ads removed. More than two-thirds of those surveyed said that the best way to support the sites they like is through advertising.

More specifically, 68% said that they’d be okay with seeing advertising as long as they are “not annoying,” while an additional 31% said they’re okay with the current situation where they see ads to support websites. Put those together and you’ve covered just about everyone. Just 9% said they’d be willing to pay for the content they enjoy. Yes, that adds up to over 100%, but I imagine there is some overlap in responses.

How You Can Still Make Money Online

So, what can we glean as our take-home lesson?

First, most people online generally don’t like advertising, but they’re willing to put up with it if it means they’ll continue to get the content they enjoy for free. Added with the trend of ad/banner blindness, more traditional means of online advertising are going to continue falling the wayside.

You need to be more creative. Native advertising is really big in this regard, as well as any sort of product placement you may have, promotion through email marketing and social media marketing, and articles with affiliate links that provide true value to the reader.

Online advertising doesn’t have to die with the rise of the ad blocker. It just has to take on a different form.

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3 thoughts on “What You Need to Know About Ad Blockers and User Activity”

  1. veersingh says:

    Thanking you very much to post this blog,
    Very nice blog, always post like this blog.

  2. As a publisher, I like ads from advertisers.
    But, as a visitor, I hate the ads, especially pop-up ads.
    This is ridiculous, right?

  3. I see native ads making a big push Michael. Because they are natural. Or, they are more seamless. A lot more seamless.

    Folks are more sophisticated these days. They have seen it all. Or most of it. The type, the empty promises, the poor ad placement and worst of all, the use of ads as a barrier to entry. If someone clicks on your blog post link and expects to see content related 100% to your blog post title and instead sees an ad 100% not related to your blog post title, you got a real problem. A barrier to entry. 8 out of 10 folks will head for the hills when your ad pop up – or when your cluttered sidebar – has absolutely nothing to do with your post title.

    This barrier kills potential clients, customers and conversions before the process even had a change to begin. Dissolve those barriers. Be relevant. Be timely. Be clear. Go native.

    For the longest time, people beat readers over the head with ads that clearly were designed with fear in mind. Bloggers feared that readers would not see their ads which ensured they would not get paid which ensured no money which ensured financial struggles. Like a domino effect of fear, which led to the agitating, obnoxious ads which created the changes we have seen in ads today.

    Consumers got fed up with the fear energy that flowed down to them. The stats show this.

    I have zero problems with ads that are placed to complement, not dominate, the work or content I am reading. Or that complement that paid product I research. Because if it seems natural, it seems normal; not out of place. I like normal. At least in this portion of my life.

    The issue for bloggers is to not let the annoyance factor creep into their minds. I have value to offer. I can help folks. So I do help folks through my blog posts and through whatever advertising I offer on my blog. In my case at the moment that is all Blogging From Paradise advertising. Down the road that may change as my size and scale expands but I still will only advertise what brings value. So I feel clear on the ads. If I feel the value of the ads I feel OK posting the ads. Easy recipe for not being affected by reader’s annoyances.

    Native ads make advertising more casual. Readers cannot put up guards if they encounter casual. Readers do put up guards if they are confronted with aggressive ads shared in blaring, loud fashion. Take your foot off of the petal. Focus on sharing helpful content. Ease up on ads and if you place banners or pop ups do some from a laid back, non-hyped, helpful, clear space. How you use ads and how you build the ads rests on your energy around the ads. You are entitled to make money with the ads – plenty – but don’t let your desperation for cashing in color the nature and presentation of the advertisements you are posting.

    Keep it simple. Keep ads related to your niche. Do not stray outside of your niche because this annoys readers. Craft clear, simple, powerful ads and place unobtrusively to keep your readers happy and to generate maximum revenue.

    There is an art to this. Test, tweak, position, re-build, re-design and see how each ad works for you. And your readers. Your readers are the ones clicking on ads, not clicking on ads or getting outright agitated at your ad style and placement.

    Think of your readers. Place themselves in your shoes. We all get annoyed at ads sometimes but I guarantee every human reading these words does not mind a certain type of ad. Be the blogger who uses those ads, thinking of your readers and their needs over your heavy desire to make a profit. In the long run, you make the greatest profits by pleasing your readers.

    Thanks Michael. Tasty food for thought here.


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