MediaPublishingHow can you persuade ad block users to turn them off?

How can you persuade ad block users to turn them off?

As more and more users turn to ad blockers, is there a way publishers can convince them to turn them off?

The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) has released the report “Ad Blocking: Who Blocks Ads, Why, and How to Win Them Back,” in an attempt to analyse the profile of users who install ad blockers and how publishers can convince them to turn them off.

The study was conducted by C3Research and it indicates that two-thirds of U.S. consumers are willing to turn off ad blockers, provided that publishers understand their needs while browsing their sites.

Who blocks ads?

According to IAB, 26% of users block ads on their computers and the majority of them are 18-34 year old males. It’s interesting to note that 40% of the users surveyed think that they are using an ad blocker, but apparently some of them assume that an ad blocker is part of their antivirus software.

ad blockers

Who stopped blocking ads?

It’s interesting to note that 20% of the users who are not using ad blockers used to have them installed, but they turned them off due to blocked content and messages that encouraged them to do so.

This may be a positive perspective for publishers that want to reduce the use of ad blockers, although 17% of users might consider to use ad blockers again in the future.

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Potential blockers, or else the users who may consider activate ad blockers again, seek for an uninterrupted, fast and safe browsing experience and if they feel that any of these elements are threatened when visiting a site, then the idea of an ad blocker might become appealing.

Screen Shot 2016-07-28 at 14.50.54

Why do they use ad blockers?

People are looking for an uninterrupted, fast and streamlined user experience and the top reason that PC users turn to ad blockers is to improve the navigation of a site’s browsing.

Meanwhile, mobile users that activate ad blockers feel that ads slow down the browsing of a site, while auto-start ads are among the most annoying types of ads for them.

What’s more, ads that block content, long video ads before a short video and ads that disrupt the browsing experience are equally annoying for users and these are the most popular reasons they turn to ad blockers.

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How to make users turn off ad blockers

Despite the increasing annoyance over ads, two thirds of people using ad blockers seem to be willing to turn them off, which sounds very promising for publishers.

This could be achieved when:

  • their favourite sites block content
  • the site guarantees that the ads are safe
  • the site guarantees hat the ads do not affect the speed of the page
  • the site guarantees that the ads do not affect the browsing experience

potential blockers

Thus, it’s promising that many users are willing to turn off their ad blockers, but they won’t actually do it without the necessary promises from publishers regarding the quality of their user experience.

It seems that the LEAN concept by IAB sounds most appealing to users who may consider turn off ad blockers, as this focuses on:

  • Light
  • Encrypted
  • Ad choice supported
  • Non-invasive ads

This way users may feel safe and confident to deactivate ad blockers, as the ads will meet their expectations, with publishers focusing more on user experience, rather than profit at any cost.

As IAB mentions, there’s a “dichotomy of acceptable and non-acceptable ad experiences” and publishers who want to win back people using ad blockers need to give them control and provide them with a safe and streamlined user experience that will not disrupt their browsing habits.

Screen Shot 2016-07-28 at 15.08.05

Not everyone can be convinced

Some of these solutions may be effective for  publishers trying to reduce the use of ad blockers among users, but we need to stress that there’s a percentage of users (anti-ad zealots?) who are not willing to go back to browsing experience full of ads, and won’t be easily convinced to do so.

It’s reassuring for publishers to see that two thirds of ad block users in U.S. are willing to turn them off if offered an improved user experience, though a third remain determined to continue using ad blockers.


Ad blocking is certainly a two-way street and there are many ways that it can be discouraged, but what’s most important for publishers is to really understand what led consumers to this solution, which is often poor user experiences when browsing a site.

Despite the different attempts to deal with it (and some of them were more successful than others), some sites use so many ads (and intrusive ads) that people will continue to be driven to use ad blockers.

LEAN ad blockers


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