Violating consumer intent may not be the desire among marketers whose ads are doing end-runs around adblockers, but the reality is 30.5 percent of the Alexa top 10,000 sites are thwarting adblockers to ensure visitors see those advertisements.
Marketers who check the sites on which they advertise may not be able to discern which ones are showing their ads to unwilling consumers, says recent research summarized on Dec. 27 in TechCrunch by Devin Coldewey. The report says more than 90 percent of the websites they found using anti-adblockers didn’t provide warnings to visitors. (Opens as a PDF)
Soon, the findings from this research may matter even more to marketers. About now, Chrome’s default setting will be to block ads. That adds to the fact that eMarketer estimates a fourth of U.S. Internet users blocked ads in 2017 and more than a third of them were smartphone users.
The eMarketer findings don’t account for sites that defy adblocking.
The TechCrunch-profiled research that’s primarily authored by the University of California, Riverside, determined there could be 52 times more end-runs around adblockers than previously believed:
Millions of people use adblockers to remove intrusive and malicious ads as well as protect themselves against tracking and pervasive surveillance. Online publishers consider adblockers a major threat to the ad-powered “free” Web. They have started to retaliate against adblockers by employing antiadblockers which can detect and stop adblock users. To counter this retaliation, adblockers in turn try to detect and filter anti-adblocking scripts. This back and forth has prompted an escalating arms race between adblockers and anti-adblockers.
The eMarketer research announced in June 2017 says the forthright publishers ask users to turn off adblockers or whitelist the sites. Emarketer continues:
A stronger step some publishers are taking is to set up ad block walls, which start out like appeals. But instead of pleading with users to stop blocking ads, walls notify users that unless they do whitelist the site, they won’t be able to access any of its content.
Adblocking users have noticed more of these walls popping up around the web, which may indicate that they are working for publishers. But research suggests most people simply go elsewhere when faced with the barriers. PageFair, which is a provider of anti-ad-blocking solutions that include ad block walls and appeals, found that 74 percent of U.S. adblocking users polled in November 2016 leave websites when faced with an ad block wall. Perhaps surprisingly, younger respondents were much less likely than older ones to be turned away by walls.
Target Marketing provides more ideas for publishers interested in keeping ad revenue.
The recent research predicts the publishers using anti-adblocking technology will probably continue to do so:
We anticipate escalation of the technological battle between adblockers and anti-adblockers — at least in the short-term. From the perspective of security and privacy conscious users, it is crucial that adblockers are able to keep up with antiadblockers. Moreover, the increasing popularity of adblocking has already led to various reform efforts within the online advertising industry to improve ads (e.g., Coalition for Better Ads … Acceptable Ads Committee … and even alternate monetization models (e.g., Google Contributor … Brave Payments … . However, to keep up the pressure on publishers and advertisers in the long-term, we believe it is crucial that adblockers keep pace with anti-adblockers in the rapidly escalating technological arms race.
Second, our upcoming #NDSS2018 paper (w/ @zst_rising88, Xunchao, @pkqzy888 and Heng) presents a dynamic differential JS analysis approach to measure (both silent and visible) anti-adblockers and disrupt them.
Full paper here: https://t.co/RpAOf3GLY0
— Zubair Shafiq (@zubair_shafiq) December 1, 2017
What do you think, marketers?
Please respond in the comments section below.