Ever since Ars Technica raised the issue there has been a higher focus by bloggers on blocking adblockers. Say that 5 times in a row quickly: ‘ focus by bloggers on blocking adblockers’.
The issue is obviously an important one, especially for many bloggers who make a living from their content, but at the same time it is a total and utter waste of time and takes away from what self-employed online authors should be doing, write valuable content. Some content producers even go as far as calling adblock users ‘thief’.
The issue of adblockers, and ‘lost revenue’ is rather simple to break down and although I entirely support sites relying on ads revenue, all I can say about this is to Get over it.
Before you get upset now, let me honestly tell you that my blogging revenues depend mainly on ad revenue, but I also use ClickToFlash to improve my web experience and thus regularly block ads. Feel free to call me a thief, if I steal I also steal revenue of myself.
Decisive About Adblock Usage Statistics Is The Niche You Are In
The main decisive factor about the popularity of adblockers on your site is the niche you are in. When your content is tech focused, whether about new gadgets or about blogging (platforms), you probably will have more readers using Firefox and other standard compliant browsers, and also adblockers. Chances are high that you have also used an adblocker, during your many years online, or use a plugin such as ClickToFlash to at least limit the annoyances of Flash.
Tech minded users, surfers are the most active and often most prolific ones. They read sites such as Lifehacker and usually stay up-to-date about what the fastest browser is and how they can tweak their browser and internet connection, or network settings, to enjoy the fastest browsing experience.
But at the same time they also are the most prolific readers and often the most active participants to many a site. They use several social media accounts and chances that they still use locally stored bookmarks are very small. They will tweet, submit your great content to Delicious, Stumble and/or Digg your content. Or comment on your entries.
If your content revolves around philately or you run a popular ‘mommy blog’, chances are that you have a higher percentage of Internet Explorer users and less Firefox/Google Chrome/Safari or mobile users even among your readership. Most of your visitors might never have heard about adblocking technology.
[pull]They are the ‘influential’ users you need to get buzzed and go viral with your entries[/pull]
Although I do not have any statistics about the more active and prolific participation of more tech savvy, and ‘addicted’, users in social media we all know that this is true. Being often online for more than 12 hours ourselves, just think about what your own online habits are. When was the last time you saved a bookmark locally but how many times have you (re)tweeted a good post you read instead? Ultimately you have to think less shallow-mindedly and trust the avalanche effect.
These maybe 5%-10% of regulars, often also fastest readers/absorbers of your content, who use any adblocking technology probably represent up to 80% of the first submissions and early votes on the social sites. They are the ‘influential’ users you need to get buzzed and go viral with your entries. To help your content reach the masses, masses who do NOT use any adblocking technology and thus actively generate you revenue. Once you have that base of tweets, stumbles and diggs your valuable content is more likely to be shared on Facebook, linked in local communities/forums and on smaller, less known blogs. Read by people who aren’t tech savvy and don’t know what an adblocker is. People who actively generate you money. People who will click your affiliate links without even knowing it’s an affiliate. People from whom you don’t have to hide/cloak affiliate links.
What Should You Focus On Then?
If you have to lose time trying out the best method to block these extensions, you’re doing it wrong. Instead you could try out alternative ad models, do some A-B testing about the location and popularity of your ads, but most of all you should return to your post editor and/or notebook and start focusing on your content again. If your content is great, the biggest content ‘spunges’ will also promote your content. Remember that these are probably the same ones who read your content from their feed reader, a rather ad-free environment and if you have ads in your feed, these have the worst conversion rate of all anyway.
Why did they come to your site? Maybe because they wanted to comment on your content, participate to your community, but instead you just annoyed them, hijacked their browser experience. Remember that one annoyed customer will share his/her experience with everyone who wants to hear about but you need more than five satisfied customers to tell their friends about you.
Lesson learned: get over it and move on. We had the exactly same discussion in 2005 with feeds already, today most of us have more feed subscribers than daily page views.
Author: Franky Branckaute
Franky is CEO, Editor and Muppet on Duty at Splashpress Media and sporadically blogs about the professional online life at his personal iFranky blog, when he isn’t annoying his colleagues or blog software evangelists. He also is regular Guest Lecturer on all things New Media and ‘blogging’. Stalk him on Twitter or on Google+