Radiant Media Player Blog

Dealing with ad blockers

Last updated on June 12, 2017 - Back to blog home page


What are ad-blockers?

An ad-blocker is a piece of software, a browser plug-in or a component of an application, that can identify advertisement on a website or mobile application and prevent ads from rendering. It can act on all form of advertisement from classic banners to pre-roll video ads. Modern ad-blockers sports advanced features and detection mechanisms and can become a serious threat for business seeking a legitimate source of revenue with online advertisement. Note the word legitimate it is of much importance here.

Ad-blockers usage vary depending on countries and user's age but a consistent trend exists: adoption is (still) rapidly growing as of mid-2017. In March 2016, the Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB) reported that UK ad-blocking was already at 22% among people over 18 years old.

Most common ad-blockers are browser-based plugins like Adblock Plus or AdBlock - but this is just the beginning as browser manufacturers are also now providing their own ad-blocking solution ( already available in Opera and soon in Chrome).

Now why would a company like Google - which has been living the dream with ad-revenue for many years - would start building an ad-blocker within Chrome? Well like they say - if a situation gets out of hand, be part of the solution not the problem. By doing so Google hopes it can help creators, journalists and web developers who depend on legitimate ad-revenue to continue funding their content creation by blocking intrusive, performance-taxing ads while still allowing user-friendly ads to run.

Why do people use ad-blockers?

This article from the Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB) says it all. Too much, uncontrolled online ads over years-and-years have created distrust among content viewers and linked the words bad-user-experience with online advertisement.

Ad-blockers say they can help in the following areas: block intrusive ads, save bandwidth, provide faster page loading times and access to content, save battery on mobile devices, help with protecting privacy. Yes when you read this it is hard - as a viewer - to say no!

The reality though is that ad-blockers are making money off ads (and tracking too). Nothing is free after all ...

What to do to keep my ad-related business model safe?

At Radiant Media Player we can help you fighting ad-blockers - many of our customers rely on video ads to generate legitimate revenue and keep the day-to-day business going. Though there are no miraculous solution to completely get rid of ad-blockers - solutions do exist to mitigate their effects:

  • Play by the rule: between the LEAN Ads program and the coalition for Better Ads, tech companies, publishers, major advertisers and agencies, are working to improve the experience of web browsing. Follow best-practices and make sure to stay up to date with the latest news from the ad-industry.
  • Detect ad-blockers and act upon it: let your viewers know that you know they are using ad-blockers. Either ask them to disable the ad-blocker for your site to allow ads to run and/or educate them as to why they should not use an ad-blocker for your site. Our open-source ad-blocker detection script can help with this.
  • Diversify: try to create alternate sources of revenue for your premium content like subscription or pay-per-view services to allow your audience to access your content without ads. You could think of using DRM/encryption technologies to secure your content.
  • Explore server-side ad insertion: this is an emerging solution for video content monetisation and works quite differently from traditional (VAST) video advertising but it could become a widely-used solution in the not-so-far future. At Radiant Media Player we already support server-side ad insertion with HLS or DASH.
  • Be creative: we have seen some of our customers come up with amazing solutions, like setting up their own VAST server or VAST proxy, to deflect ad-blockers. Ad-blockers often rely upon the detection of commonly used keywords in the ad industry to block network requests to popular ad-servers. Our open-source rmp-vast project can help you with that as it is not currently blocked (meaning the library itself) by ad-blockers like Adblock Plus or AdBlock.
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