Many of you reading this own at least one developed website with paid advertisers. If you aren’t following these simple tips, you aren’t serving your advertisers as well as you could be and you are leaving money on the table. I’m talking about ad blocking software that is available for free for most browsers.
A study last year observed more than 100 million impressions and found that almost 10% of all ad impressions were blocked by ad blocking software. The way the software usually works is that it has a list of filters that search for common indicators that an image is an ad. Some examples are having the image in a directory called /bannerads/, having dimensions in the image file name such as 125×125.gif, and they can also detect URL strings that ad serving software such as Google DFP or OIO Publisher use. You can view a complete list of filters that come with the default installation of AdBlock Plus for Firefox, as you’ll see it is quite extensive.
As a first step, you should install ad blocking software in your browser and enable it, then visit your website to see how bad off you are. For example, on Domaining.com depending on the rotation, as many as 4 out of the 5 ads on the site are blocked (Nokta being the exception). Take Elliot’s Blog for example (sorry Elliot!), literally every single ad is blocked by the software I’m using. Once you see where you stand, here are some steps you can take to improve your situation:
- Stop using ad-serving software. Instead use the simple <a> and <img> tags and put the code into a text widget in WordPress or hard-code it into your theme.
- Don’t store the images in a directory with an obvious name such as /ads/ or /bannerads/ or /banners/. Just call it “myimages” or something.
- Change the image file name to not include dimensions or obvious keywords. Change estibot-ad_125x125.gif to just estibot.gif for example.
- See if the advertiser can give you a different URL to avoid words like “affiliates” or otherwise.
You could even shorten the link with Bit.ly if they can’t give you a different URL to mask these “red flag” keywords. This would also allow you to track ad performance since, without your ad serving software, you’re going to need a way to know how many clicks you are delivering. Now check your site again with your ad blocker enabled and keep tweaking until most or all of your ads show up.
If you aren’t following these important steps, you’re working hard to drive traffic to your site and not reaping the full rewards. Get an instant 10% bump in clicks on your sponsors’ ads, you’ll keep them around longer and be able to justify raising your rates.