If you are a publisher of online content and your primary revenue stream is display ads, the graph above should be alarming. It shows the growing trend of Adblock usage.
Browser extensions like Adblock and Ghostery block ads and tracking scripts. Depending on a site’s niche, the percentage of users running ad blocking software ranges between 10% to 30%. From a web publisher’s perspective like Forbes or Business Insider, this is troublesome because their revenue is mostly based on displaying ads to site visitors.
However, there are opportunities to preserve this revenue through innovation. Publishers could start loading ads server-side, so Adblock cannot block calls to third-party ad servers. Web publishers could also implement randomized div IDs for ads, so it is harder to know which divs to block.
But these too are most likely temporary measures in a losing battle, as extensions like Adblock get smarter. Some web publishers like the New York Times have realized this and have implemented alternative approaches like paywalls.
I don’t have a great solution for this problem. For the moment gathering data on the size of the challenge you face might be the best step you can take. In this GitHub repo, I included a code sample that detects if a site visitor is using ad blocking software. It works by making a call to the Google Ads server, which Adblock and Ghostery block by default.
Here is a live demo of this script: murtza.org/detect/
If you would like to get accurate data on ad blocking usage by your site visitors, I recommend comparing the number of visitors tracked by Google Analytics for your site versus your server-side logs.