5 Reasons Why Asking People To Switch Off Their Ad Blocker Doesn’t Work

Pat Whelan

Publishers have tried almost every trick in the book to get ad block users to unblock their ads. One of the most common practices is whitelisting which gates content until a user turns off their blocker. This practice fails to understand why people installed ad blockers in the first place.

Publishers have tried almost every trick in the book to get ad block users to unblock or force ads on their respective websites so they can show ads, make money and in many cases, survive. 

One of the most common practices is whitelisting. This is the practice of detecting an ad blocker, then blocking the content until the user goes through a series of steps to remove all filters for the current website they are on. In essence, they are turning off their ad blocker for that website.

But what many publishers fail to realise is that whitelisting (turning off your ad blocker) fundamentally fails to understand why a person installed an ad blocker in the first place. Whitelisting removes all of the protections and experience improvements that ad block users want and are demanding by using an ad blocker. 

Below are 5 core reasons that an ad block user is not likely to whitelist:

1. Whitelist gating leads to website bounces

When a reader lands on a publication and they are presented with onerous messaging on how to whitelist, do you think they are going to do that or just bounce off your site? Given how hard it is to get users to click on just about anything, you can probably guess the answer.

Depending on the ad blocker being used, the ability to temporarily switch it off for a specific site varies widely. Most of the leading independent ad block suppliers make it relatively simple to pause or whitelist your respective ad blocker, but if you use Chrome or Firefox ad blocking utilities, it takes numerous, frustrating steps. With the limited time and attention offered by today’s digital consumer, most people would rather go somewhere else than go through the process. 

Still publishers try to promote this technique because it is easy to implement. In many cases ad blockers can block the actual messaging asking them white-list. 

2. Do you enjoy seeing grotesque weight loss ads?

Whatever we think about programmatic advertising, it’s clear that its introduction and wide use across the industry has led to a dramatic decline in advertising quality in pursuit of increasing revenues. People absolutely hate poor quality advertising that is irrelevant to them. The sad truth is that, while not the only reason for people turning on ad blockers, it still remains a major contributing factor. There’s nothing worse that you can do to switch off consumers than to ignore the reason why they use ad blockers in the first place by forcing irrelevant and often poor quality ads into their on-line experiences.

3. Behavioral Targeting has taken a step too far

Consumers have become increasingly tech savvy. 

They have learned that the industry uses behavioral tracking, cookies and tracking techniques to follow them across their on-line journeys. Consumers are appalled by this, and good ad blockers prevent this from happening. Knowing you are being tracked and specifically targeted, is just like being spied on (aka “the surveillance state”); it’s annoying and disrupts the consumer experience. It also causes users to distrust sites that use these techniques, injecting unwanted tracking and ads at every opportunity.

4. Consumers can click “no” on a million cookie notices, or just install an ad blocker

Data privacy has grown rapidly to become one of the main reasons why consumers use ad blockers today. The capturing and selling of personal information without consumer permissions is considered intolerable and in some cases illegal, driving consumers to use any tools and measures available to protect their privacy, eliminate intrusive advertising, tracking and other malicious things.

5. Consumers simply want control over their experience

What is often overlooked by publishers and the Adtech industry is one critically important change to consumer behavior. And it’s nothing to do with technology. 

It’s the desire and demand of consumers to control their own digital experiences. 

Years ago, marketers lulled themselves into thinking consumers wanted to see their ads when in actuality they did not. They missed the obvious - that by cranking up the volume, frequency, irrelevancy and intrusiveness of ads, turned consumers off. To then track, capture and sell personal data was the last straw. 

Have no doubt consumers have taken back control and the use of ad blockers is but one example.

How To Win Them Back? Permission + Context + Quality

As contextual advertising integrated into content replaces the use of cookies, new alignment strategies between publishers and advertisers are needed to achieve success while delivering value to consumers.

At Adtoniq, we have seen that by giving control to ad block users, offering them choices to opt-in or not to see ads and making it frictionless to give permission, has had a dramatic impact on consumer behavior.  At the same time letting them know they are not being tracked or having data gathered about them to target or otherwise infringe on their privacy has been a critical success factor.

Consumers appreciate that you are respecting their wishes and we have seen this build back trust and deepen relations with advertisers and publishers. Asking consumers for their permission to see ads really works. And permission becomes the cornerstone for advertising going forward.

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What is

Permission-based Advertising?

Adtoniq technology allows for ads to be served to ad block audiences with their permission which results in higher engagement and more conversions.

We only serve ads to an ad blocker when they have given some form of consent to do so. We do not force ads on ad block users, nor do we ask them to white-list or turn off their ad blockers. Users can revoke their permission at any time and we strive to make their experience fully transparent.