“Banner cutters” and what Russian media representatives think about them, instructions for checking the percentage of users with blockers on their website

    AdBlock, AdBlock Plus, AdGuard and other browser extensions that allow you to block ads on any web pages affect the media landscape, whose main source of income is still selling ads. YouTube, which falls into the "media" category at a stretch, is also experiencing the serious influence of ad blockers.

    At Megamind we pay a lot of attention to this topic, since it is becoming increasingly difficult to ignore it .

    In order to focus not only on the information that comes to us from the West: from Germany, where there was a lawsuit between the company Eeyo (developer AdBlock Plus) and the publisher Axel Springer (both organizations with a German “residence permit”), or from the USA - From the main and largest media market, where similar developments are also starting to appear , we decided to ask people doing media in Russian what they think about the ever-increasing proportion of users blocking ads on their pages.

    The questions we addressed to the editors-in-chief of popular publications are as follows:
    1. Do you personally use AdBlock / AdBlock Plus or similar browser extensions (ad blockers)?
    2. As the head of a media project, what do you think of the growing popularity of ad blockers?
    3. Can you name the percentage of your own audience using similar extensions on your pages?
    4. Are you struggling in some way with AdBlock / AdBlock Plus and similar extensions?
    5. Would you join the boycott of ad blockers if it was carried out jointly by several major media projects?
    Answers to the questions are presented in the same sequence.



    Denis Kryuchkov , publisher of TM projects :
    1. I use, but exclusively for professional purposes. I’m watching how and what is blocked on different sites.
    2. Considering the reputation that Internet advertising has built up for itself in recent years, and what about the years since the advent of the Internet, an increase in popularity of Internet advertising blockers was inevitable. If you look at the situation through the eyes of the user, watching and reading sites without advertising is much more pleasant than with it. It is obvious. And in general, no one cares that for today's publishers, advertising is the only income model. At least in Russia. This is where you need to build on. The process is inevitable, publishers need to adapt to the new reality. Unfortunately, the popularity of such software will only continue.
    3. 3 and 4 questions: At peak, we had approximately 43% of users with an ad blocker installed. Now it is about 30%. It was possible to significantly reduce the share by contacting the users who installed this software and explaining that advertising, no matter how it should be treated, helps to develop.
    4. A difficult and delicate question. Which every month is becoming increasingly relevant for publishers. We must look what will happen next.



    Ilya Krasilshchik , publisher of Medusa :
    1. Not. I’m engaged in advertising, it’s strange to block it, so you can skip some interesting ideas.
    2. This is an absolutely understandable process - people are tired of banners. With banners in general, everything is not thank God, and not only because of AdBlock - those who do not use blockers often do not notice banners.
    3. They didn’t count, but I think 20 percent.
    4. Not. Someday we’ll hang up a request to carefully put Medusa into exceptions, but for us this is not a priority - most advertising on Medusa is native, and AdBlock does not take it.
    5. It seems to me that there are more important things to unite. Also, what does a boycott mean? Do not let readers read the publication? I'm against.
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    Dmitry Navosha , CEO of Sports.ru :
    1. Not. For testing, I set it a couple of times to make sure that users have certain problems - for example, when blockers cut off a teaser of the match center on the Sports.ru main page in response to the word teaser.
    2. This, of course, is a big problem for independent media and services. It threatens smaller, “ecosystem” players like Yandex, Facebook or Google - and because their margins are much higher, the loss of a fifth of the proceeds may not have dramatic consequences. And because it’s easier for them to negotiate with ad blockers or pay them to consider their ads acceptable. And because they, in the end, owning the ecosystem, can somehow resist the blockers. To “stand-alone” projects, in general, this trend threatens more, on the other hand, their audience is often more loyal. Therefore, in our attempts to solve the problem, we turned to this loyalty.
    3. This percentage reached 20%.
    4. We tried to display a special explanation for such users that our sites and applications pay off only with advertising, because we do not take money from users. And they asked them to make us an exception to their banner cutting. In principle, it worked - almost half was turned off.
    5. Honestly, I don’t quite imagine the mechanics of such a boycott. But communication with users on the topic “there will be no advertising - there will be no site and applications”, I think, we will continue. In addition, for those who are completely orthodox in relation to advertising, we create an alternative in applications - a paid subscription, we do not show ads to subscribers. In the Sports.ru Android application, it has already been implemented, in iOS it will be from day to day - the new app is already in moderation.


    Yuri Sinodov , publisher of Roem :
    1. No, I don’t use it - this or that advertising campaign can lead to quite industry news. For a journalist, cutting ads is unprofessional.
    2. The data on the growth of the audience of edblockers and the influence are not very convincing, in particular, it is not clear what percentage of such an audience this time. The influence of this audience on the advertising market is not clear, these are two. Thirdly, money knocked out by blackmail from advertising systems still leaves ads in the user's browser, it just magically becomes “ethical”. Under such boundary conditions, the wave of articles in the press about the terrible threat from blockers looks more like an attempt by edblockers to get more PR and, accordingly, money from all market players. They have enough money for PR, they work competently - even in Russia they hired a PR agency and went through the media.
    3. If our reader does not want to see advertising - well, he is not a fool, he himself made this decision. Our readers are highly qualified, I don’t feel like fighting them.
    4. In boycotts, too, we see no reason.


    Nikolay Belousov , creator and former chief editor of Cossa :
    1. Not. He began to eat too much RAM and slow down the computer.
    2. This is normal. We need to come up with new monetization models.
    3. Difficult to answer.
    4. Not.
    5. No, I don’t see the need for this.


    Alexey Ametov , co-founder and publisher of Look At Me media projects :
    1. I tested it, but I don’t use it because it’s important for me to watch what happens with online media advertising + I consider it not quite ethical to do so when you work in the media
    2. I think that the growing popularity of blockers is a response to aggressive and low-quality advertising, to full-screens and to prerolls. Users are tired of all this and are looking for an opportunity to get rid of this garbage.
    3. According to our estimates, 15-20% of our monthly audience use Adblock.
    4. We show users with ad blockers messages asking them to include our sites in the exclusion list, since advertising helps us to earn the money we need to work on projects. About a third of users listened to our request.
    5. The problem is not in media projects. Yes, we suffer, but this is not our war. The problem is shit sites with pop-ups, doorways and Youtube with its long pre-rolls.



    Konstantin Panfilov , editor-in-chief of VC.ru (formerly Zuckerberg Will Call):
    1. Not. Because, firstly, I wonder how the advertising market is developing, secondly, I don’t want to leave colleagues without their honest penny, thirdly, ad blockers sometimes cut some useful scripts or layout at the same time.
    2. Until they block native advertising and special projects, there is nothing to be afraid of.
    3. When we conducted a survey of market participants, we found out that this indicator usually ranges from 10% to 20%. We have about the same.
    4. Last year, they hung special banners calling to disable AdBlock, after which they began to color the site in black and white for those who have banner cutting enabled.
    5. Our task is to make advertising (since we use this method of monetization) pleasant and useful (both for us, for the user, and for the advertiser). This can be forgotten if we are pointless to shed blood.


    Nikita Likhachev , chief editor of TJournal :
    1. Personally, I don’t use any blockers: like many media professionals, I constantly evaluate who uses which formats. Okay, I just love it when they show me many, many, many advertisements that cannot be closed.
    2. Ad blockers did not arise artificially: people already realized that they did not get the benefits of display advertising, and advertising agencies still want to go in old formats. Everyone is slowly switching to native advertising, but so far few people know how to use it. It’s good, it’s right, that’s the way to do it. I hope Apple with their content blockers (how cleverly dodged the real nature of the service, right?) Will make a revolution.
    3. We have not measured data on the use of blockers for a very long time. Roughly we can assume that there are 20-25% of them.
    4. On TJ, we are not fighting with blockers. On vc.ru (we, consider it, one big team) there is such a practice: when AdBlock is on, the site is displayed in black and white. This reduced the number of users with blockers from 20% to 5%.
    5. I would not join the boycott of blockers. Firstly, it will not work: you cannot stand in the way of progress. Secondly, there are users who use blockers to combat the dominance of advertising - so let them use it. But if the user specifically blocks us, then there is probably a moral right to block him in response - one way or another.

    Instructions for verifying the percentage of users with an ad blocker on your website


    • It is important to determine which function of the banner exchange platform blocks AdBlock when loading your page on the client;
    • In the case of the AdRiver platform (for example), AdBlock Plus cuts out the function function adriver(ph, prm, defer);
    • Next, you need to set the custom “Dimension” in the Google Analytics for example like this:
      var adblock_on = (typeof adriver == 'undefined') ? 'yes' : 'no';
      ga('set', 'dimension1', adblock_on);
      
    • Done! Now in most Google Analytics reports, you can filter the result by this user parameter.

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