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Adblock vs online marketing

The battle for privacy: Adblock vs online marketing

Lately, there is a lot of talk about AdBlock and the impact it can have on digital analytics and digital marketing campaigns. It is possible that most digital professionals blame the different systems of adblocking or blocking advertising if their online advertising campaigns give bad results, and often without knowing very well what they are talking about.

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Obviously, the Internet user does not want to be continuously bombarded by an advertisement that explodes in his face as he is reading the content of a page, or that he skips an advertisement that does not let him see anything of the site or navigate on it. Or the worst of all, the ones that emit a deafening noise to be paid attention to, and then you can’t find the tab where the ad is located. Even the creator of the pop-ups has recently come out apologizing in public, as he feels guilty about all the “evil” that his creation has produced. But of course, on the other hand, there are advertisers, who need to make themselves known to feed on new users. In this long debate, there is no conclusion as to who is right.

What is adblocking

The first thing is to see what any ad blocker does or how adblocking works. This is a method by which an internet user installs a plugin or extension in the browser that effectively blocks ads from a web page or mobile application. This can be done either by blocking communications with network-level adserving servers or by preventing the browser from executing the JavaScript code needed to generate and display the banner. This makes page loading faster, as some scripts do not run and the user feels more protected as no information is collected. But, on the other hand, this also affects you negatively, since the user experience is poorer, since the pages cannot improve it by not knowing how the user interacts with your site.

In some browsers, such as Firefox or Chrome, there are many plugins that allow these blocks, as well as a few options on mobile devices, the most popular of all being the free plugin AdBlock Plus. There are companies like Google and Facebook that are paying the developers of these programs to become part of a kind of “whitelist” that allows them to publish their ads and not be filtered. This can betray a little the principles of adblocking, since it would prevent advertising from entering unless it is paid, so the usefulness of the system would be almost zero, as if gold was being beaten and only the nuggets remained in the sieve.

In short, these plugins and applications are affecting many websites, especially those that usually use ads to monetize traffic to the site. It is also remarkable the visual impact that these blockers can produce, since it can range from showing blank segments on a page where to sections that are caked and joined together by not having an ad as an element of separation. This can also affect the user’s perception of the quality of the website.

Adblocking and marketing

For sites that display ads, the financial impact can be substantial as it decreases the flow of advertising revenue. For large media sites, which rely on this revenue to maintain their newsroom staff, this can spell financial disaster.

If for users or websites, you change the way you understand pages, for advertisers, however, blocking advertising poses a different problem. Since these programs block the display of an ad, ads that should have been shown in that usual ad space now need to be shown elsewhere. If before they had 12 ads and 12 sites to show them, now they find 12 ads and 8 places to place them. This issue already moves from cost or return on investment to ad inventory and viewing eligibility. In turn, this means less money spent on ads, if a considerable part of the target audience uses these blocking systems, this audience is more limited. In short, it will be spending less but it will also be a smaller audience.

How to deal with adblocking

Therefore, and before being alarmed, it is advisable to measure the use of adblocking and see the number of users who use it. For this, a fake ad must be created on all pages of the website to be analyzed, so that it deceives the blocker and makes him think that the page is showing ads. Then, in the Tag Manager, a Data Layer event is created that indicates if an adblocking occurs on the web page. This event must be set as a “non interaction hit” so that it does not affect the bounce rate.

If you see a quarter or more of the users employing this system, that’s when one should start taking action. These can be from the most radical ones such as blocking content for these users or letting them access it only if they share the content of the website through social networks. The ideal scenario here would be to reach a mutual peace between users and advertisers: that some do not block the ads if they are not interested and directly ignore them, and that the others do not create advertising so invasive that it makes the Internet user flee the site. At the moment, advertisers must make more and more efforts to focus better on their objective and make useful ads that can interest the user and thus escape the block.