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.