How Online Publishers Should Address Ad Blocking

August 18, 2016

Detection is the first step in the IAB’s new DEAL method, which is designed to help publishers build strategies that effectively address ad blocking.

Steve Guenther, VP, digital auditing services

If ad blocking started to make news in 2015, this year the media industry is coming up with new strategies to understand how to address it. According to a 2015 PageFair report, U.S. ad blocking grew by 48 percent to reach 45 million active users in 12 months up to June 2015, and is estimated to cost $20.3 billion in 2016.

Ad blocking affects both online publishers and advertisers. Online publishers are responding to ad blocking usage in a variety of ways, from posting messages on their site to curb the use of ad blockers to offering consumers an ad-free site for a small fee. Simultaneously, some for-profit companies in the ad block space— ad blockers and anti-ad block companies alike —are charging fees to white list ads as “acceptable” to appear on publisher sites. While these companies may provide information to online publishers, some fund ad blocking software and continue to propagate the issue and consumer awareness.

For online advertisers, ad blocking takes away the opportunity of their ads being seen.


How the IAB's DEAL Method Works

To help the digital advertising industry better understand the impact of ad blocking, the Interactive Advertising Bureau has come up with a recommended approach that online publishers can take to address this type of consumer behavior called “DEAL.”

  • Detect ad blocking, in order to initiate a conversation
  • Explain the value exchange that advertising enables  
  • Ask for changed behavior in order to maintain an equitable exchange
  • Lift restrictions or Limit access in response to consumer choices

To support the new methodology the IAB Technology Lab recently published a “Publisher Ad Blocking Primer” that outlines the tactics certain online publishers are using to persuade visitors to stop ad blocking. Many of the tactics in the new primer align with the tenets of LEAN, another IAB program that was released in October 2015 to help online publishers create a streamlined and user-friendly experience on ad-supported sites.

Recognizing that ad block detection is the first step, AAM similarly introduced a new product called “Ad Block Gauge” that helps online publishers detect ads and provide them with the information they need to build new strategies for their digital media properties. Ad Block Gauge is the first available ad blocking detection tool from an independent, unbiased source to built-in ad block technology provides online publishers with top-line metrics that can serve as a baseline for developing ad blocking strategies. With Ad Block Gauge, publishers can use AAM data to double-check the accuracy of results from PageFair or similar ad block detection companies.

Ad Block Gauge is available today as a standalone service and is also included in AAM’s new Site Certifier product.

I also encourage you to check out our latest Q&A series that features interviews with industry leaders about the key challenges facing digital media such as viewabilityad fraudprogrammatic buying and ad blocking. Feel free to contact us with any questions about these developments.

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