Why Blocking Users with Ad Blockers Hurts More Than It Helps

In the ongoing battle between online media and ad blockers, some websites have resorted to blocking users who employ these extensions. While the frustration with lost revenue is understandable, this approach hurts the website and its audience.

1. It alienates your audience: People use ad blockers for various reasons, from concerns about privacy and intrusive ads to wanting a cleaner browsing experience. Blocking them altogether sends a message that you don’t value their preferences and are willing to sacrifice their access to your content for potential ad revenue. This can damage your reputation and drive users away permanently.

2. It doesn’t address the root cause: Instead of punishing users who choose not to see ads, websites should focus on improving their advertising practices. This means offering users more control over the types of ads they see, implementing stricter guidelines for ad formats and content, and prioritizing user experience by eliminating intrusive or disruptive ads.

3. It fosters a negative perception of online advertising: Blocking users with ad blockers reinforces the negative perception that all online ads are intrusive and harmful. This discourages advertisers from working with you and hinders the development of more user-friendly and effective advertising solutions.

4. It ignores alternative revenue streams: While advertising remains a significant source of income for many online media, it shouldn’t be the sole focus. Explore alternative revenue streams such as subscriptions, premium content offerings, or sponsored content that aligns with your brand and audience values.

5. It misses an opportunity for dialogue: Blocking users with ad blockers eliminates the chance to understand their concerns and preferences. By engaging with them and offering solutions like acceptable ad formats or whitelisting options, you can build trust and encourage them to support your content in ways that work for both parties.

Globally, 32.8% of internet users use ad blockers at least sometimes when online, GWI data shows. According to another source (Blockthrough), there were an estimated 912 million ad-blocking users worldwide in Q2 2023 (416 million on desktop and 496 million on mobile). A Q2 2020 survey found that 47% of US internet users viewed website ads negatively, while only 10% had a favorable opinion. However, 41% reported a neutral attitude, suggesting they might tolerate ads as part of the overall publisher site experience.

The Way Forward:

Instead of blocking tactics, online media should create a positive user experience that respects user preferences and offers value beyond intrusive advertising. You can build a sustainable and prosperous online presence by implementing ethical advertising practices, exploring alternative revenue streams, and engaging in open communication with your audience. Remember, your readers are your most valuable asset, and treating them respectfully is vital to long-term success.

About richmeyer

Rich is a passionate marketer who is able to quickly understand what turns a prospect into a customer. He challenges the status quo and always asks "what can we do better"? He knows how to take analytics and turn them into opportunities and he is a great communicator.

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