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Adblockers financial impact on your websites traffic

Adblockers financial impact on your websites traffic

Posted on Feb 12, 2010 by Paul White

Adblockers have a place in the world.  That place was back when we allwere using dial up internet.  Now that everyone is on high speedbroadband connections, adblockers are doing more harm than good.  Iwill show you some concrete data to prove that adblockers are hurting anywebsite that is dependent on Google Adsense for Revenue.

What is an Adblocker?

An Adblocker is a browser plugin that blocks the website advertisements.  In the beginning they were meant to simply block those annoying popup windows.  This was a legitimate problem.  But some developers took the next step and created Adblockers that would completely block the advertising banners from a website.  Anytime a webpage loads you have to wait for all elements of the page to finish loading before it will let you interact with it.  Some websites might have 3 or 4 advertising banners, of which have to load before you can start scrolling.  If these advertising banners were just simple JPG images that were hosted on the same server as the website, it wouldn't be such a big deal.  But most of the time websites especially smaller ones will use a third party such as Google Adsense to fill their advertising slots.  Google Adsense is simple to use.  The webmaster adds a few lines of Javascript to their webpage, anytime a person visits that page the Javascript is ran which causes google to quickly visit your page to see what it is about,  then Google will feed your page ads that are relavent to the content and your visitor.  Even though google is very fast about feeding ads to your website, there are many not so known third party Ad companies that are very slow.  Even if your computer is stilling on its own dedicated Fiber Channel,  you will still sit there for a few seconds waiting for the ads to load.  In today's world were we are used to get information fast, this is not acceptable.

How does an Adblocker work?

Its pretty simple really.  When a visitor to your website makes the initial request for the HTML,  a Browser Plugin ( Adblocker ) will scan the page and remove / disable any javascript that would enable the calling of advertisements.  Then the page loads all the images and remote files that are part of the design of the page.  The result is you are able to browse faster because your browser didn't have to download the 100KB+ worth of advertisements.  If a person doesn't see the ads, then there is no chance of them clicking them.

How do I beat adblockers?

Something to keep in mind is adblockers don't just block google adsense javascript.  They also have evolved to look for keywords that would infer this spot is running an advertisement.  Then to block that as well.  The result is now simple images, that might have to workd Ads in the filename, or path, are blocked.  So to beat adblockers you need to ensure your advertisements are not labeled as such.  This way the artificial intelligence of the adblocker won't pick it up.

Proof that Adblockers hurt websites bottom line.

For the example I am going to show you a screen shot from my stats server which is based off the server logs.  This of course includes all requests to the website, meaning organic traffic ( Real Visitors ), spiders, bots are all grouped together.

Chart 1: Smarter Stats Page View Report
SmarterStats Impressions
The first column is the Page Views or Impression.  These are pulled from the Server logs.
These should include organic traffic only, with the exception of a few bots that are unknown to SmarterMail

Chart 2. Smarter Stats Spider Report
SmarterStats Spiders
These are derived from a known list of crawlers and bots, and do not include organic traffic.

Chart 3.  Google Analytics Impressions Report
Google Analytics Report
For these stats to work, the Google Analytics Javascript code has to be run on each page view.  These stats should reflect the number of page views created by organic traffic.

Chart 4 Google Adsense Report
Adsense Report
This is a report from google on the number of times my ads where seen. and clicked.  Normally my earnings are a little better than this, but recently they have been down.

Looking at the Stats data all together

Stats Type
Feb 6
Feb 7
Feb 8
Feb 9
Feb 10
Feb 11
SmarterStats Organic504
Google Analytics Organic323
Google Adsense344

What surprized me was the difference between the Adsense and Analytics figures.  Its obvious some visitors are blocking analytics but not adsense.  Still the difference between the SmarterStats figures and Google are huge.  I highly doubt all this traffic could be the result of rogue bots.  I know google doesn't count traffic from outside the USA and Canada, but its hard to believe that I am getting that much traffic from off shore visitors.

5203 Visitors

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