5 Ways to Monetize Your Website When Ad Blockers are Present

get around ad blockers

If you’re a publisher, then you’re most likely aware that ad blockers are doing some damage to your income. In fact, according to PageFair and Adobe, ad blocking is estimated to cost publishers approximately $22 billion in 2015!

Some publishers are actually paying ad blockers like Adblock Plus to unblock ads. Unfortunately, you probably don’t have the budget like Google, Amazon, or Microsoft to go this route. You may even consider just asking your loyal audience members to allow ads after you bring to their attention how ad blockers can harm your business.

Discover the Zoho Ecosystem

Sell Your Business

Drive Traffic to Your Website

Or, you could try one of the following techniques to get around ad blockers and monetize your website – even when they’re present.

How to Get Around Ad Blockers

Sponsored Articles

Publishers have been able to make additional money by either writing or publishing sponsored content in the past. Sponsored articles are simply when you, the publisher, have been paid for an article. Since sponsored articles can get around ad blockers, it remains an option for those looking to monetize their sites.

If a publisher has a strong social media presence and email newsletter, then the options to promote the sponsored article through those channels sweetens the pot for the advertiser.

To keep within Google’s guidelines, disclosures in sponsored articles are recommended. As well as using a tracking URL (with UTM code) or a URL shortener. This not only track the clicks, but also makes sure Google does not consider the link a natural one, which can damage both the SEO of the publisher and the advertiser alike.

Small Business Deals

Native Advertising

Native advertising is similar to sponsored articles since the ads are meant to replicate the same format or function of a the publisher’s site. The New York Times has been effectively using native advertising since January 2014 through a subdomain to the labeling header. One example was when Netflix sponsored an article to promote its series “Orange Is The New Black” in August 2014. It was an in-depth article that examined the many issues that women prisoners face, which is also explored in the show.

Likewise, alternative ad technologies like StaMedia offer non-traditional forms of advertising, like interactive ads or email signups within the native ad, which are less obtrusive than traditional advertising.

Native advertising can’t be picked up by ad blockers since they are masquerading as editorial pieces. Like sponsored articles, native ads should be of high-quality so that you don’t jeopardize your reputation. Also, there are a number native advertising vendors like OneSpot, Outbrain, Movable Media, Nativo, Zemanta, Revcontent, and Taboola that you can use to place a long-form piece of content onto a publisher’s site or generate content recommendations. (Check on these on a case by case basis to see which survive AdBlocker).

Email Newsletters

Monetizing your email newsletter can be achieved through tactics like:

  • Charging a subscription where you give readers a taste of your awesome content, but they must pay a fee to read the rest.
  • Targeting your audience through Launchbit, which is like Google AdWords.
  • Re-targeting your customers with  AdRoll or Meteora to remind them of your product or service.
  • Selling ad space within your email’s body, which may get blocked.
  • Working with affiliates using VigLink so that there is link placed in the email’s body.

Remember, your newsletters are meant to provide additional value to your subscribers by informing them that you have fresh content that shares advice. The idea is to get your readers engaged – and drive them back to your website.

Subscription and “Freemium” Model

You can actually give your audience a decision – enjoy your content for free with ads, or let them pay for a subscription that would remove ads.

Brands like Spotify have this option for music lovers. You can stream music for free. But you’ll have to listen to ads. However, if you pay $9.99 per month, you won’t have to listen to the ads.

Another way to approach this is to allow visitors access to only a limited amount of views before requiring them to subscribe. The Harvard Business Review is one example of a publisher that only allows readers to view 5 free articles before asking for them to register for more articles. Even more interesting is the fact the they still offer a free subscription option where you can read 15 articles per month. Paid subscribers are offered a number of deals and offers as an incentive to get you to purchase an annual subscription.

Affiliate Partnerships

Another way you can monetize your website is through affiliate marketing. This tactic, where you are compensated for driving traffic, leads or sales from a merchant, can be another option to get around ad blockers. So if you are say, working with Amazon, you could write a product review or top ten post that contains a unique Amazon link. If your visitors click that link and make a purchase on Amazon, you’ll receive a commission.

There’s a little more to it than the above example. But that’s pretty much the overall gist of affiliate marketing. 

Because of ad blockers, publishers are now forced to look at different ways to monetize their website. Traditional methods may no longer be effective. But if you continue to be innovative and provide customers with something that they need, you can still make money through publishing and get around ad blockers.

Block Wall Photo via Shutterstock


Loren Baker Loren Baker is the founder of Search Engine Journal, hosts the podcast Search & Deploy on Rainmaker.FM and is a VP at Foundation Digital, a digital marketing agency. A long time digital entrepreneur, Loren has been in digital marketing since 1998 and over the past decade he has built & executed Search & Social strategies for leading companies in car insurance, retail shopping, professional sports and the movie & television industry.

4 Reactions
  1. There’s nothing better than native advertising. Aside from the fact that you can get the money instantly when your advertisers pay for the ad, you have complete control on where it appears on the page. These cannot be blocked by ad blockers.

  2. Loren: Thanks for bringing up this issue. It is fascinating how the market players will come up with solutions! 😉

  3. Interesting article. Thanks for the info. I read somewhere that if you change the size of ad slightly, then most ad blockers will not be effective. Is this true or is it hogwash?

  4. Native Advertising is definitely a safe bet moving further, since spending on native is expected to make up over half of spend this year. Besides having the benefit of surviving in the “adblocker domination era”, native ad widgets help publishers drive higher revenue and make for a better experience for visitors.

    “Consumers are 25% more likely to engage with a native ad when compared to a traditional banner advertisement.. Even more impressive is the fact that 53% of native ad engagement is positive, which helps to build credibility and a great brand experience,” – Kyle Ryan, CEO of Earnify

    I think mainly the success comes from the fact that native has less to do with “selling” and more with sparking ideas and emotions, entartaining or educating the audience.

    “Also, there are a number native advertising vendors like OneSpot, Outbrain, Movable Media, Nativo, Zemanta, Revcontent, and Taboola” – there is also a platform from vi SSP called very intuitively “vi stories”, which does the job – a unit with contextual video content monetized with premium ads.