The rise in ad blocking interferes with the digital marketing industry. People no longer want to tolerate intrusive ad experiences or ads that dominate their screen space too much. To avoid poor user experiences while browsing the web, they demand more control over the ads they see and use ad blockers.
The majority of ad blockers are in the United Kingdom, France and Germany. Germany has the highest number of ad blockers, with some form of ad blocking being used by 32.8 percent of internet users. Approximately one in four Internet users in the U.S. will block ads on at least one of their devices this year. A common misconception is that users mainly block display banners (retargeting) and pop-up ads, but the same restrictions also apply to banners and text links commonly used in affiliate marketing. Many ad blocking applications are powered by large filter databases allowing anyone to submit ads to their ad blocking lists.
As ad blocking becomes mainstream, marketers are looking for ways to mitigate its impact on their affiliate programs. Here are three strategies to help you identify and reduce the likelihood of being blocked within your affiliate programs:
1. Audit publisher sites and ad blocking lists
One of the easiest ways to do so is to sign up for adblocking software and then audit the sites of your publishers when trying to determine if your placements are blocked. You will see when ads or links disappear from the website of the publisher if they are blocked by using an ad blocker on your browser. Reviewing EasyList, the primary list used by many ad blockers is also important in order to see if your tracking domain is listed.
Once you do your research and find your affiliate placement is blocked, in the Acceptable Ads initiative, you can appeal to be whitelisted, get whitelisted. Some firms may be asked for a whitelisting license monetary fee.
2. Partner with an affiliate network or SaaS platform
Collaborating as a service (SaaS) platform with your affiliate network or software can help minimize the impact of adblocking. Many affiliate networks and platforms have developed ad blocking technology mitigation solutions. They often require code changes to the site of a brand so bear in mind that you will probably need to involve your department of technology.
Certain platforms offer traffic dedicated tracking domains. These are unique to the affiliate program of the brand, which reduces the risk of an ad blocking list being added. If they are ever flagged, these custom domains can be updated as needed. Other solutions provide a fallback analytical URL for tracking ad blocking or server-to-server tracking.
3. Avoid disruptive ad experiences
Often, after a bad experience with disruptive, irrelevant online ads, people turn on ad blockers. Effective brand marketing builds relationships with consumers and affiliate marketing has been shown to be a successful way of building authentic relations. For example, content partners are known for creating meaningful content and sharing their personal experience with the brand, which gives their followers confidence and authority. As customers have access to more information and value access to quality content, they are often more receptive to this approach than banner ads.
Take, for example, the relationship between blogger Money Saving Mom and KiwiCo. Money Saving Mom shared a review of the monthly subscription service provided by KiwiCo offering educational projects, crafts and activities on various topics for children. The author shares in her post how much her children enjoyed their KiwiCo box and she includes a website affiliate link for readers to explore KiwiCo on their own. These custom insights are meaningful and relevant to potential customers, providing a better user experience that feels less intrusive than a banner ad.
If your publishers use banner ads in their promotions, ensure that they comply with the Acceptable Ads criteria by following guidelines for standard sizes, placements and other best practices. This can help ensure that ad blockers do not distinguish and flag your ads inappropriately.
The most value for brands will be given by publishers who deliver quality, relevant ads. The reality is that the era of disruptive ad experiences ends and is replaced by personalized and meaningful content that reflects the customer’s aspirations and interests. With careful planning and monitoring–and working closely with industry partners –affiliate program managers and marketers can better address the ad blocking challenges.