Getting Round Ad Blockers
Monetising a blog sounds so grand. It sounds so sure and bold, to take the decision to “monetise”.
Except it’s kinda like declaring you’ve signed up to the gym. It feels good and you’re aware of all the potential facing you in that weight room, imagining your Herculean (athletic at the very least) physique to come… but the reality is, while you have access to all the tools you’ll need to get it, you’ll find it way tougher than you imagined.
For starters you need traffic. Traffic gets you that potential physique – or earning potential on your website.
And when you get that traffic, around 25% of them will be utilising ad blocking software of some sort.
That blocking software will do its darnedest to strip out your ads, and then you’re back to a decidedly un-monetised blog.
Maybe even a blog with some ugly holes in it where you put your (now missing) ads.
So how do you get round that?
Ad Block Detectors
Detecting ad blockers gives you a couple of options. You can try and force the visitor to switch it off by not showing your page, masking it with an overlay, or you can show a gentler pop-up sort of overlay making the suggestion your visitors do the same thing, but will still allow them to browse your site if you don’t.
Neither of these are really great solutions, and both risk you losing the potential reader – and adding to your bounce rate, and thus Google thinking you’re showing nothing of value, and so lowering your SERPs.
The bigger sites, news sites etc, can get away with it to a certain degree. They’re probably getting millions of visitors a day, have an established rep, have something behind the gateway they know folks want to get at, so they can play that game of denying access if you don’t play by their rules i.e. turn off your ad blocker.
Of course some big sites play the other tact too, but instead of forcing you from the site if you don’t play ball, they prefer to play safer and politely suggest you turn off your ad blocker, along with a suitable tale of financial woe if you don’t, and the guilt of knowing you may have contributed to the site’s eventual demise – you freeloader!
I don’t like these solutions because you’re either giving folks an ultimatum or giving in.
Whatever you do, you lose.
Yeah, you could “win” too, if the folks in the first scenario give in and disable their ad blocker, but then you’re gambling with your traffic, and like money, most of us don’t have so much of it that we can really afford to turn away more of it when it does show up.
So I don’t like those blanket cover all anti-ad block options.
I prefer instead to use something that adapts to my visitor, and does it silently and unobtrusively.
Types Of Ads
When you sign up as an affiliate to some product or service, you’ll get access to an affiliate area which will include advertising banners and associated links. These will be pre-generated for you with your affiliate tracking link incorporated in the URL. You’re advised to copy & paste the advertising link somewhere on your site, then the visitor’s browser takes care of calling it and rendering it correctly.
And it’s precisely these links that the ad blocking software is looking for, and strips out.
So where you can, don’t use them.
Instead download the banner pics you want to use to your laptop or whatever, and then upload them as normal to your media library. From there, slot the advertising pics in wherever you want on your site, and apply the link code to the “Link to custom URL” tag of the image (found when you ‘Edit’ the image).
Better yet, use a plug in called Pretty Links to mask that link and call it something less obvious, and more in keeping with your site.
That way, when the ad blocker encounters the image, it can’t follow through on the link, and it certainly can’t “read” and understand the image to know that it’s depicting like a human.
So it gets left alone. I strongly advise you use “hard coded” images where you can, and never the tell-tale affiliate code/link.
If nothing else, your banner will load faster and successfully every time.
Load faster because you have it stored locally (and hopefully compressed), and successfully as you’re not dependent on the server being linked to serving it up and displaying the associated image on your site. That can be as big a problem as the ad-blockers – a timeout or network glitch, and you get an ugly bit of white space where you artfully placed your ad to appear.
Images served up from my media pics, is my preferred option.
But you can’t get away with that every time.
If you sign up to Ad Sense or use one of the adult equivalents like JuciyAds, then you’re going to be supplied with some browser scripting to serve the ad on your site.
You’ll have no control over what is served, and it may be dependent on the location of your site visitor (geo linked) and existing cookies on their system i.e. what they’ve previously viewed.
You don’t know. So you can’t “pre-plan” like the affiliate links I described.
And the ad blocker (if it’s any good) will definitely recognise that little bit of script as an advertisement and suppress its display.
So how do you get around that?
Me, I prefer to make use of a WordPress plugin called Ad Blocking Detector by Admiral.
I like this one as it doesn’t do the blanket ultimatum/begging bowl message, but offers the option of what to display if no ad blocker is detected, and what to display if one is.
This, I reckon, is the best way to handle to ad-blockers, as you’re assured of always displaying something.
So in the section of what to display if no ad-blocker is detected, you place your dynamic ad sense script that you’ve been supplied with.
In the section “Ad blocker detected” you put a default image and link. Something to revert to when you know your dynamic ad is going to be stripped out i.e.
<img src=”https://www.product.com/images/banners/affiliates/468×60-2.jpg” alt=”Your Product Affiliate Banner” /></a>
Which is what is you’ll find slotted in on your page when you view a linked image in Text (HTML) rather than Visual in your WordPress text editor.
So that’s my preferred method of circumnavigating ad blockers. If you’ve got an alternate or better way, I’d be glad to read about it in Comments.
But like I said back at the start of this article, all this is just side-tricks to the main show, which is getting traffic.
That’s the hard bit.
For discussion and strategies on that topic, you’ll find no better resource than Wealthy Affiliate (WA). That’s where I got my start in affiliate marketing and where I’m still to be found as a member. You can read my review here.
Recommended further reading on monetising your blogging:
Not a recent work but it’s a cheap buy and still worth a read.
How I Replaced My Day Job With My Blog
By Bob Lotich