The wide use of ad blockers leads to decreasing revenues and can finally cause a serious problem for projects monetarized by display ads. It can also cause script issues without any ads being displayed, like in your WordPress admin panel. Advanced Ads provides some features to handle this issue.
What is an ad blocker?
An ad blocker is a software that can prevent loading advertising content on a website. It therefore just blocks either content or loading files with specific names. Since ad blockers don’t really understand what they are blocking, they could also block files that are not displaying ads.
How do you know if you are using an ad blocker?
Many users don’t even know that they are using an ad blocker and might be surprised when they see a warning that they are using one that causes problems. Here is a quick list of where ad blockers could be installed:
- as an extension in your browser, often called “AdBlock”, “AdBlock Plus” or “uBlock” or as part of a privacy extension like “Ghostery”
- as a feature in the anti-virus or firewall software on your computer
- as part of your company’s firewall
If you are looking for your ad blocker then just test a different browser. This will tell you if the ad blocker is an extension or feature in your default browser.
Count and analyze ad blocker users on your site
The use of ad blocking software is increasing. Depending on your site’s topic, ad blockers are installed in up to over 50% of the visiting browsers, preventing your ads from being displayed. Their usage grew 30% in 2016. Analyzing this progress for different regions and devices, the problem is becoming much more dramatic. In India, for example, the usage of ad blocker on smartphones rose up to 59%.
The first step to understand how threatening ad blockers are for your own business is to learn more about them. We developed the ad blocker counter to identify these users and to display them in your Google Analytics reports.
With this information, you can learn more about this user group and its behavior. To start tracking ad block users, you need to insert your Google Analytics ID into the ad blocker counter option which you can find in the general settings of Advanced Ads.
To evaluate this user group in your Google Analytics, we provide a customized report (“Ad Block”) that you can import to your dashboard with this link or from the Google Analytics Solutions Gallery. After the import, you can choose “Ad Block” from your custom reports. If you open the Top Events section, you can find the ad block users listed as an event action next to the other entries from Advanced Ads.
Show alternative content to visitors using ad block software
After you evaluated the number of visitors with ad blockers, you can decide how to handle them. Advanced Ads Pro has a feature to recognize ad block users and to show them content that is not blocked. Before you can start, you need to activate the ad block module in the Pro settings.
Afterwards, you can define alternative items for every single placement. Just create a fallback ad for ad blocker users and choose it from the list. A typical use case for this feature could be a fallback for your blocked AdSense units. Instead of the scripted AdSense ad, you could show an image ad, e.g., to subscribe to your newsletter or for your facebook page.
The only way to be sure that your ads are hard to block is to use locally hosted image ads or custom HTML code which does not load content from an external source. For images, just make sure that their filename doesn’t include anything like “ad”, or “banner,” e.g. “banner.gif.”
Using the ad block disguise
Neither this feature nor any other ad block script can unblock external scripts like from Google AdSense, Google DFP or other ad-related services and make them work with an ad blocker.
However, you can at least make sure that the Advanced Ads scripts are not blocked and so make sure that static content is still displayed when an ad blocker is enabled. The Ad Block Disguise option takes case of this.
- switch on Advanced Ads > General > Ad blocker fix
- scroll down to Ad blocker file folder and click on Rebuild asset folder
- save the settings page
This option moves all scripts from Advanced Ads that might be blocked by an ad blocker into a new, random folder. The folder gets updated when the Advanced Ads related plugins update as well. However, to prevent browsers from caching old versions, you might want to rename the folder from time to time.
If the ad block disguise option doesn’t work or you are already using a plugin that renames scripts (minify and caching plugins like Autoptimize or WP Rocket), you should switch off the ad block disguise, because they have the same effect.
Advanced Ads comes with two options that add some kind of strings to your ads. Ad blockers could theoretically target them to block ads.
Some of our frontend features require a static IP and a prefix to identify elements. This prefix is set in Advanced Ads > Settings > General > ID prefix.
By default, this prefix is generated from the first 5 letters of your URL. If someone adds your site to an ad blocker list then it is likely that they are also going to target that prefix. Use the option to change it into any other random string if you see it being blocked.
To track links using the Tracking add-on, we create a dynamic URL. This URL also contains some part that allows us to identify it as a click tracking URL.
You can find the option in Advanced Ads > Settings > Tracking > Click-link base.
Just change that option to something else if you have the feeling that it is used to block an ad.