How do Ad-blockers affect the video industry?

Anti-ads - How do Ad-blockers work in video industry?

Are you one of those video creators inspired by the success of YouTube, Roku, Freevee, and other ad-monetized video distribution platforms? Yes. AVOD is indeed trending and one of the most promising video monetization models in recent times.

According to a study, AVOD streamers are projected to grow over the next three years, with about $260 billion in earnings by 2025.

It is not surprising that the SVOD giant Netflix is planning to introduce an ad-subsidized plan in the near future.

However, ad-blockers and their users are making it difficult for the ad-supported community to thrive.

When a user watches a piece of content for free on the internet, they make payments with their attention–by watching ads and making clicks. When they use ad-blockers, they deprive the advertiser of this attention and, therefore, the content creator of their revenue.

Understanding ad blockers and how they impact your revenue is essential before monetizing your content with ads. More importantly, this understanding will help you lessen the impact caused by them.

Before we jump into how ad-blockers work, let’s understand the different types of video ads.

Types of Video Ads

Types of video ads
Types of video ads.

During the playback of a video, ads are loaded on previously marked spots along the play line, referred to as ad-markers (yellow markers marked along the play line in the above image).

  • Pre-roll advertisements: Pre-rolls are advertisements that play before the actual content. A viewer has to sit through this ad to watch the actual content that they desire.
  • Mid-roll advertisements: Mid-roll ads are played in between the actual content. Mid-rolls typically appear in long-form videos (videos longer than 30 mins). There can be multiple mid-rolls based on the length of the video. For instance, a two-hour video may have 3 to 4 mid-rolls.
  • Post-roll advertisements: In line with their name, these are ads you see after you watch a video. Post-rolls typically appear when a series of videos are played consecutively, say playlists or seasons.
  • Banner Ads: These are small banners that are placed over the video content.

How do Ad-blockers Work?

The video payer requests the ad server for an ad on reaching the ad-marker, for which the server responds with an ad. Upon completion of the ad, the player returns the tracking information.

There is a lot of communication happening here. Ad blockers detect and prevent an ad from being loaded by identifying any communication between the actual website and the ad server and blocking the elements responsible for loading the advertisement.

To monetize your video with ads, the ad needs to be played and tracked. Ad blockers prevent the ads from loading, let alone being tracked. In this case, the ads are not shown to your viewers, and therefore you make no income.

Of course, losing your income can make you nervous, but there is no need to get all sweaty. There are several ways to combat ad blockers. Let’s talk about it.

Strategies to Combat Ad-blockers

1. Place genuine ads

I am sure every internet user would have come across that annoying pop-up ad that will never close no matter what. Also, those virus threat ads and millions of other ads that one doesn’t even want to click accidentally. Navigating the actual content of a website with this type of ad is like playing a flappy bird. You need to focus on not hitting the ads rather than the actual content.

Hubspot found that 83% of people think ads are not all bad, and they use ad blockers to weed out annoying ones that clutter their feeds.

Apart from losing the trust of the user, intrusive ads also give them reasons to use ad-blockers.

On the other hand, placing targeted ads gives users a better experience and also leads to higher ad engagement. This will ensure that your content will have a higher CPM (cost per mile) and fill rates.

2. Balance Ad Loads

The balance between ad loads and content length should be maintained to ensure that the viewer doesn’t lose interest.

Imagine having to sit through a 30-second pre-roll, three 20 seconds mid-roll, and a 10-second post-roll to watch content that is less than 10 minutes in duration. Not only will the frequent ads annoy the user, but they will also spoil the entire video-watching experience and disengage them.

Midroll ads must be placed only in longer videos, and also the number of mid-rolls and their spacing should be optimized based on the video duration.

3. Take advantage of SSAI


Most ad-blockers work by detecting the communication between the ad-server and the video player. What if there is not any? Muahahaha, give that evil laugh to the ad-blockers.

Ads are inserted into video streams by two popular methods: 

  1. CSAI (Client Side Ad Integration)
  2. SSAI (Server Side Ad Integration) 

The CSAI makes a request to the ad server on reaching the ad marker, hence detectable by the blockers.

Whereas, in SSAI, the ads are stitched along with the video content at the time of encoding, making it impossible for the blockers to detect the communication. Despite the benefits, only 45% of video publishers use the SSAI model to maximize their ad inventory and the technical complexity of building an SSAI system.

4. Build device-specific apps

Most ad blockers work only on browsers and cannot affect app functionality. Building apps for mobiles and CTVs will not only find you a way around ad-blockers but also improve user experience.

Today, users prefer to stream videos on device-specific apps so that they have improved user experience across the various devices they consume their videos.

In fact, over 70% of TVs sold today are smart TVs, making smart TV apps the most popular way to stream online videos.

5. Say no to users with blockers

Let your audience know you noticed they’re using an ad blocker. Tell them in a friendly and matter-of-fact way that your service relies on ads to generate revenue and will not survive; otherwise, ask them to disable the ad blocker while using your website or service.

If you notice that your users are still using ad blockers, make sure they are unable to view your content unless they disable the blocker.

Hulu adblocks - Option to enable ads
Hulu Ad Blocks – Option to enable ads

Hulu, like every other ad-monetized site, is impacted when streamed on a web browser. To combat this loss caused by ad-blockers, Hulu requests its user to enable ads on their site when it detects an ad-blocker. They also display the message for 30 seconds, which is slightly over their usual ad duration of 25 seconds, to ensure that users don’t use the blockers.

To take a step further, some AVOD streaming services do not play their content until the blocker is disabled. You can go ahead with this measure if you are extremely confident about your content.

Wrap Up

AVOD is on the rise, and now is the right time to enter the streaming world with ad-supported content. Ad Block is definitely a hurdle that must be crossed when planning to monetize your video content with ads. Working with experts in the streaming industry will ensure that you find your way around ad-blockers.

Featured image source: Freepik Premium

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