How to Detect Ad Blocker Users on Your WordPress Website
Call them boring, manipulative, unnecessary, and even intrusive — but you can’t say that ads are useless. Most of the TV programming you watched in the pre-subscription era was powered by advertising money. Most newspapers and magazines you ever read were kept afloat by ads. The websites you visit today probably use ads as part of their monetization setup. If you happen to own a website, you’ve at least given them a thought.
But if you take all of that into account and add the fact that lots and lots of businesses owned and operated by nice people rely on ads to drive sales — people will still dislike ads. You’ll still detect ad blocking in, statistics show, a quarter of US traffic. So the time you’ve spent installing your WordPress website and obsessing over things such as choosing the perfect theme for a travel website and making sure your content is flawless — it might go unrewarded.
But let’s see if we can stop it from happening! In this article, we’ll show you:
People’s attitudes towards ads should come as no surprise. When asked in a survey about their ad-blocking habits, people who block ads listed the following as the top five reasons why they want to stop ads from showing:
They are seeing too many ads.
The ads they are seeing are annoying or irrelevant.
They find ads to be too intrusive.
They think ads contain viruses and bugs.
They find ads to take up too much screen space.
All valid concerns, as you can see. But even if you’d try to address these issues and make sure your website only shows relevant ads — something you achieve using intrusive techniques — and as few of them as you possibly can, you still can’t be sure people will whitelist your website. After all, how will they know to do it if they can’t see your ads in the first place?
In the meantime, you’ll be suffering losses. When ad blocking software prevents ads from loading on your website pages, you don’t get paid because the basic conditions for a successful and countable action — a click in PPC advertising or an impression in a PPI model — simply cannot be met. One of the ways you can try to address it is by detecting visitors who use ad blockers when visiting your website.
You can detect ad-blocking visitors on your WordPress website the way you do anything else on WordPress — by using a plugin. However, when you start combing through the detect-ad-blocker plugins, you’ll soon notice that most of them haven’t been updated for a while. They still might work on your website, though, but you will have to take on the risk of installing possibly unsupported plugins.
The alternative is, of course, to use a paid plugin. Many of the best premium advertising and ad management plugins will have a feature to detect ad blockers. But if you’re looking for a way to try out ad blocker detection on the cheap, you can install the free version of the Ad Inserter WordPress plugin.
Ad Inserter excels at allowing you to insert ads anywhere you want on your website. But it also has an ad-blocking detection feature that works well in the free version and only gets better if you decide to switch to the Pro version. For now, however, you can go ahead and do what you need to install the plugin and activate it.
After finding the plugin under Settings > Ad Inserter, you’ll see a list of blocks you can use to insert the ads into your website, and a settings icon at the end of the row of blocks. Click on the icon and find the “Ad Blocking” menu card below.
You can toggle ad-blocking detection on and off. When it’s on, the plugin will detect most visitors who are using ad blocker software. While it won’t be able to force your ads to show even to those visitors, Ad Inserter will give you a choice of actions to take when an ad blocker is detected. The first is to do nothing — a valid action, but you wouldn’t be using an ad block detection software if that’s what you wanted to do.
The second option is to display a popup message to the visitor who uses an ad blocker on your website. The plugin allows you to create a custom message, as well as set additional rules including exclusion rules for logged-in users and admins, the delay of the message for a set number of page views, and a no-action period measured in days.
You can change the look of the message if you know CSS, but even more importantly, you’ll be able to set whether you want the message to be undismissable, effectively using it to block access to the website. Again, you’ll have the option to set exclusion rules for logged in users and admins.
Alternatively, you can set the action to “Redirection” and redirect an ad-blocking visitor to another page on your website. You can provide them some information there about your need to run ads or use it just as another way of preventing ad-blocking visitors from viewing your website.
Ad Inserter Pro has a couple of more features in its offer, including ways to protect your content or display alternative ads in place of those that were blocked. And while you’re welcome to give those features a try, the free version already illustrates some of the most common ways publishers are reacting to ad blockers.
Detecting an ad blocker user is as easy as it is to install a plugin that will do it for you. But deciding what to do with those kinds of visitors is a completely different thing. Ad Inserter, and many other plugins, gives you the three basic options of doing nothing, showing them a notice and letting them through, and completely blocking them from viewing your website.
While you can do whatever you want with the ad-blocking visitors to your website, you should strongly consider letting them through with a plea to turn off their ad blocker or even without one. Traffic is traffic, after all, and you’ll find few websites that are turning visitors away because they are blocking their ads.
More importantly, however, you can always use other, unblockable ways of monetizing your website’s traffic numbers. There are no ad blockers that can block sponsored content, for example. You can also give affiliate marketing a go — it can be an effective way to monetize your website and there are plenty of plugins that can help you do it. Blocking visitors is the nuclear option, and it should rarely be used.
Let’s Wrap It Up!
Ads are the unavoidable nuisance of the digital world —that is, they are until someone blocks them with a piece of ad blocking software. For someone whose main form of website monetization is the type of ads that are affected by ad blockers, the use of this type of software means money taken out of their pocket. Luckily, there are ways to detect the visitors who employ ad blockers and to try to get them on your side. If that fails, you can always beef up your website monetization with other advertising methods.