While talking to a few affiliates last week, I happened to ask how many of them use the browser extension AdBlock, whether just for their general day to day web browsing, or for actual affiliate work.
I was surprised to find out that most don’t use Adblock at all. And of the ones that do – they use it primarily for their web browsing, and don’t even consider it as another tool for affiliate work.
Wow – both those answers were big mistakes.
Let’s talk about AdBlock, and it’s importance for internet marketers:
What Is AdBlock?
AdBlock is what it sounds like – it’s a browser extension that blocks advertisements. It’s had over 300 million downloads, and is very popular. As more and more people are getting a bit more savvy with computers and understanding extensions etc, it’s just going to be something that gets bigger and bigger.
They’ve actually got a pretty awesome system set up – they generally go after annoying/intrusive ads etc, although it does a lot more and it’s something you should be aware of – for example it can disable user tracking, and also disable social media buttons.
For this article though we’re going to focus entirely on the blocking ad part of it. If you want to read more about the program itself, visit AdBlockPlus.org.
Why Internet Marketers Shouldn’t Use Adblock:
It’s very simple really – if you fight for the UFC, and you have a fight coming up – you’d want to watch tapes of your opponent right? Or study MMA tapes in general for ideas etc.
The same rules apply to internet marketing.
Our job is to make money off the internet. We should always be keeping an eye out for what other websites are doing. Not just our competition – but we should be looking at all advertisements on all websites on a daily basis. Think about what ones stick out to you and why – think about what ones “work” in terms of making you click on the actual ad etc.
I mean here’s an example: my local newspaper recently incorporated a system on their website. You can’t just read an article now – before reading an article, you have to watch a 15 second video which is an advertisement. It forces you do to that – then after you watch that video, you can browse their website for the next hour without having to watch it again.
AdBlock Plus blocks that. If I was using AdBlock Plus I would be completely unaware of that type of marketing idea. And when you see an advertisement like that – it’s good to think beyond it. Sure people complain about it on the newspapers comments and on Facebook – but it’s the type of advertisement that works very well for a site like that. It’s a local news site and one of the only resources that has an established user base who visit each and every day. They KNOW people have to read the news – so they can piss a few people off knowing that they’ll still come back every day anyway.
Online newspapers are struggling to make money, so it’s fascinating to see ideas like that. Then you think about the audience and what websites that would actually work on. A newspaper website? I give that 10/10 in terms of quality marketing implementation. Your standard gambling affiliate website? Probably 0/10 unless you have some insanely good content, and an established user base who need it. A strategy website for example would probably get a 5/10 or 6/10 if you were an established player.
Affiliate Bible for example – that sort of ad would work on here. It’s not a 10/10 – but more like a 5/10 or 6/10. I have an established userbase that visits every time I post a new article. I also have a lot of new visitors every day seeking information on making money online. A 15 second video advertising an affiliate program or something? Yeah I could easily get away with that. (Don’t worry, I won’t).
So that’s why internet marketers shouldn’t use adblock – you’re missing out on so much information, ideas and knowledge.
Why Internet Marketers SHOULD Use Adblock:
Internet marketers SHOULD use Adblock because they need to see their website from the Adblock users perspective.
There’s multiple ways to determine whether users are using AdBlock or not on your website. Here’s one article on the topic that includes Analytics Integration well as various other methods. Or if you use the same banner on a website, you could probably compare visits with banner impressions and get an idea.
Tracking AdBlock users over 15 different websites(9 of which were gambling) the rate of AdBlock users was always in the 10%-20% range, which is a significant amount of visitors.
So what you should be doing is having AdBlock installed – either on a web browser you never use, or have it set to run manually, and then run it on all of your affiliate sites.
Sometimes, the results may surprise you – and scare the hell out of you. For example – I see many affiliates who instead of using a text call to action or a unique button or unique call to action use an affiliate programs banners. Guess what? Adblock users DON’T SEE THESE.
And it’s not just your general casino banner ads – here’s a screenshot from PocketFives:
That big white space? There’s usually a graphic there encouraging you to register at P5s.
Here’s a section of my local newspaper without AdBlock:
See the local businesses section? Here it is WITH Adblock:
Oops – gone!
And if you’re selling ad space – you need to know all this to stop any issues down the road. For example on that newspaper website – what if the owner of Ramekins Restaurant, who has purchased sponsorship, uses Adblock? And he visits the site and doesn’t see his listing there. He might be pissed off and not be able to put two and two together. Then he comes to the webmasters and is asking where the hell his ad is. And they’re looking at the website and thinking “this dude is crazy we can see it right there” and are also unable to put two and two together – and it becomes a big hassle, waste of time – and could cause the owner of the restaurant to pull his advertisements.
Those are just a few examples. I’ve seen text links blocked depending on the link. If your website is solely based on Adsense income? Oops – approximately 1 in 7 users aren’t going to me making you any money.
AdBlock is just one example of how you should ALWAYS take some time to look at your website from a variety of different users perspective.
Resolution for example – regardless of whether or not your website is responsive, you should be looking at the most popular resolutions that browse your website, and then testing them out yourself just to make sure everything is good.
Web browsers are another one. That one’s actually so obvious and basic it blows my MIND how many people screw that up. I see lots of designs all day – sometimes just from browsing, other times people e-mailing me them to look at etc.
I’ll often share them with my coder/designer – who uses Internet Explorer. I’d estimate for every 5 website designs I show him, he will reply at least once “lol IE”. Then I’ll check it in IE and see the website is an absolute disaster and often not functional at all.
Always take some time to think about the users, and look at it from their perspective.
We put so much into internet marketing. So much money, effort, and work. So much research is required. Hiring out content, writing it ourselves, planning sites out, getting graphics created, having websites designed, building links, search engine optimization etc etc etc.
For most of us, making money comes down to exactly one thing: users clicking links.
After all that work – let’s make sure there’s actually some links for the users to click, eh?