How Do You Know If Ad Blocking Is in Place? What Can You Do if it Is?

Ad blockers have been a hot topic recently. Many are concerned with the potential long-term impact to revenue. Media companies are especially vulnerable. Publications, such as USA Today and The Washington Post, are concerned because they have seen desktop revenue shrink fairly significantly due to ad blockers. Consequently, they worry that they might see the same drop from their mobile advertising.

Ad blockers are browser plugins, really only applying to Safari in the case of iOs9 mobile devices, and they do not impact third-party apps. So, while native-browsing revenue may be affected, mobile-channel options still exist.

Nevertheless, there is a need to understand mobile-ad blocking behavior. Brands have told us that their responses to ad blockers depend on how pervasive the apps are. So, the first step to addressing the issue is to deploy ad-blocker detection.

Mobile-Ad Blocking Detection Tool
To be displayed to the user, most ads rely on specific types of JavaScript (JS) files being downloaded. To mimic that request, we built an ad-block detection script — a zero-byte JS file that mimics common ad file formats. This file is sent to do one thing: detect an active ad blocker. If the ad-block file is downloaded, the user will be presented with the full experience. However, if our file is not downloaded, the user still has mobile-ad blocking in place.

What Can You Do When Ad Blockers Are in Place?
Those who use ad blockers almost certainly share the mindset that they do not want ads. However, if they are given engaging, interesting, and/or memorable experiences via more-relevant mobile-advertising distribution, they might want to enjoy the full experience.

If the response to our JS file reveals an ad blocker in place, a brand can then choose to serve a message to the user such as, “We know you are using an ad blocker, but our ad experience is different.” Marketers may want to change the normal display-ad experience to offer more-relevant mobile advertising options for mobile users. Users could be presented with value exchanges for disabling the plugin or whitelisting the site within the app.

Why Use a Mobile-Ad Blocking Detection Tool?
Many brands, regardless of their response strategies, are primarily interested in how pervasive these ad blockers are. While they might not be able to do much to immediately limit ad-revenue loss, understanding the pervasiveness of the mobile-ad blockers — is it 10 percent, 20 percent, 60 percent? — can enable you to develop a suitable strategy based on the usage level. Although mobile-ad blocking will be a problem for some industries, others won’t be as profoundly impacted. For instance, in the financial-services industry, there is very little display advertising done. So they are less likely to have a need to detect ad blockers. But, industries that rely on ad revenue — like media — should look to uncover the pervasiveness of ad blockers for their sites. Our ad-blocker detection tool can help in that regard.

For more information about this solution, contact Adobe today.