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I've got the impression that the number of sites asking users to turn off adblockers are rising. However, is there really any point in asking them?

Apparently, a large number of users turn off adblockers when asked to, according to some potentially biased sources (blockadblock.com, adguard.com).

But does it really matter if they do? I'm thinking that the kind of people who have adblockers are perhaps the same people who never click on ads anyway (I'm one of them). Is there any research that shows if asking users to turn off adblockers actually corresponds to an increase in ad revenue, or just an increase in the number of served ads?

  • For the reasons michael d supplied below, if you do ask users to disable their ad blockers, it's advisable to do so in the least obtrusive way possible, like a small footer or header that can be clicked closed. Otherwise you'll likely generate a much larger percentage of bounces and non-returning visitors. – dan Feb 21 '18 at 8:07
  • Based on my survey of 1 person (me), I either ignore the plea or leave the site if they have blocked content. – Steve Feb 21 '18 at 21:30
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Sites that ask users to turn off adblock and block their content from adblock users are at risk from deranking their site in the search results.

Many SEO experts are now saying that user metrics such as time on site, session duration, pages per session and bounce rate are all enormous SEO ranking factors. And there's a lot of reason to suggest that these metrics will continue to grow in importance over time. By blocking your content to users, adblock or not, these metrics are going to take a substantial negative hit.

If a user is asked to turn off adblock or not view the content, many of them will simply back out of the page and click on the next link. This is a huge signal to Google that the other link should potentially rank higher than yours.

On top of that, by disabling adblock users, that is an entire market of people who could potentially become regular users of your site, share your site and tell their friends about it. Reducing accessibility of a website to a large percentage of internet users is an enormous risk.

By asking visitors to disable adblock, you risk those users going to your direct competitor. Thus strengthening your competitors and weakening yourself.

It's quite clear that if you force users to disable adblock that you will naturally gain more revenue by being able to serve up ads to those people who do, but the negative ripple effect and consequences of essentially banning a large percentage of visitors is so drastic that in the end I think it's rarely worth it. And it's the reason why the vast majority of sites do not ban adblock users.

  • Do you have a source for the claim that "It's quite clear that if you force users to disable adblock that you will naturally gain more revenue by being able to serve up ads to those people who do [...]"? Because that's exactly the assumption I'm questioning. Is it really clear that you will gain more revenue if you force users to disable their adblockers? Wouldn't it be likely that users who have adblockers installed might be much more unlikely than the average user to click on any ads even after they disabled it? – Magnus W Feb 21 '18 at 16:39
  • Hi badcash. Yes, a user with adblock might click ads less. But the basic principle is this. If adblock user = $0revenue { make adblock user turn off adblock } Therefore adblock user =! $0revenue . You can get some sort of RPM out of the user who turned off his adblock that you might not have gotten with adblock on, but the negative effects are probably not worth it. – Michael d Feb 21 '18 at 19:22
  • I run a website that has no direct competition, and I don't think search results are a major source of views for me. I'm considering displaying a friendly sadface banner in place of ads that failed to load - as I understand it, it is pretty safe to do in my situation, and this answer doesn't really apply to me? – riv May 18 '18 at 23:14

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