About 1 in 20 Internet users (5%) is utilizing software to block ads online. The blocking of ads is already hitting publishers for over $20 billion per year, and that number is expected to double to more than $40 billion. How are publishers trying to reclaim those ad dollars?

What Stands in the Way

First, it is important to know what stands in the way of getting ads to users. The fact that ad blocking is spreading at an alarming rate (up nearly 70% last year) is a big factor. Plus, ad blocking has gone mobile, and Android and iOS users now both have ad blocking options for mobile devices.

To make matters worse for publishers, the media is promoting ad-blocking software. It has appeared in news reports from popular TV stations, and even a celebrity shock-jock has gotten on the bandwagon. In part, this is due to maladvertising. Malware has permeated the Internet, and ads are one place that the sneaky malicious software is lurking. Ad blocking can prevent infection with this software, leading to an increase in ad blocking.

And ad blocking is not the only thing that hurts the digital ad industry. Ad visibility and fraudulent traffic may cost the industry over $8 billion per year.

The Options for Publishers

What are publishers doing to combat the losses?

  • Wait – This seems to be the popular response, but mostly because publishers are stumped as to how to approach the problem. Ad blocking will eventually have to be addressed if publishers want to stay in business.
  • Team Up – Some publishers have gotten in bed with ad-blocking companies to discreetly get some ads through the block while others have worked out different forms of compensation based on the number of a publisher’s ads that have been blocked.
  • Pay Up – Google and Microsoft are two corporate giants that have never been afraid to become the “bad guy.” In this case, they have paid one major ad-block company to whitelist their ads. However, this calls into question issues of net neutrality, and you can expect the dialogue to grow heated.
  • Better UX – By creating a better ad experience for users, some publishers hope to discourage ad block usage.
  • Transparency – Publishers are trying to educate ad-block software users to help them see the downside of ad block. After all, no one wants to lose their free content over blocking a few ads.
  • Going on the Offensive – Some publishers are fighting back to try and override ad-blocking software.
  • Turing to Uncle Sam – Other publishers are looking for legal ways to stop the use of ad-block software.

Denial of Service – Perhaps one of the most controversial approaches is blocking content access for those who have ad-block software installed. Some sites require payment from users with ad-blocking enabled.