on 30 November 2015 06:42 PM

What is Ad-Blocking or Ad-Filtering?

It is a practice applied by Internet users based on the use of extensions or tools enabling online advertising blocking in websites. This is generally applied from the browser or operation system the user is working with. Nowadays, there are O.S. versions already coming with an installed blocking system (I.e.:iOS 9).

Adblock Plus is one of the most popular add-ons on the market.

They offer users the complete blocking of Internet ads and they state that not all ads are "bad". They have an “Acceptable” ad policy enabling websites to be comprised in a “White list"
so as to avoid any kind of blocking (provided they comply with their policy provisions). Those conditions may be seen in the following link: 
Acceptable ads FAQ.

We’ll go deep in this issue throughout this article in order to clarify the best practices to face this situation.

The blocking acts at the visual level, but it also implies the cut of calls to ad servers (for Ad Servers such as e-planning the request is directly not executed, which implies the non-registration of impressions).

Users using this kind of blocking look for an improvement in loading times of visited websites, among other technical issues, so as to improve their browsing experience. Others simply do it because they do not wish to be impacted by ads they are not interested in. Most of times, even behind the use of this type of technologies, there is the wish of not being “traced” or “tracked” by systems gathering browsing information to then apply several online marketing strategies.


Current scenario worldwide and in LATAM

This issue is not so alarming yet for players involved in the market. The possibly affected ones, if this fact becomes something of viral and massive impact, will be the content generators (publishers), as they live from ad investments, as well as those in need of media to apply communication strategies (advertisers/ agencies).




Even though a percentage of users is currently blocking ads neither crisis nor great problems have been detected in the digital ad ecosystem.

The issue is already installed, but the industry professionals do not perceive it as a threat.

According to sources consulted, regarding a survey made by Strata in May 2015, 44.8% of consulted people considered ad-blocking as a non-important issue for their agency and/or clients. Only 9% discovered the issue as worrying and another 46.3% evidenced to be quite worried. On the other hand, 88.1% indicated that ad-blocking was creating a null or vague impact in ad investment.


Better practices/ How to face Ad-Blocking

Technically speaking, it is not possible to skip blocking “barriers” from ad serving solutions. The cause of such impossibility falls in the kind of constant update technology applied by these providers. The codes connecting the website to the ad server are easily detectable.

This is the reason why different solutions should be approached.

As advertising determines the media economic survival, one of the alternatives is to regulate the Access to the website contents, even if the user agrees or not to see ads. For example: if the user gets access to more than 5 notes in the newspaper, a series of "pop-up" or window is triggered inviting him to keep looking at the contents but under the condition to accept the ad and/or subscribe to the website or newsletters for a monthly amount. If the user does not choose any of these options, a “limited” access will keep ruling to look at the website contents. However, if he accepts to see the ads, he will be entitled to have access to 100% of the information.

There are many well-known cases of websites already applying these solutions. This is the case of "The Washington Post". They ask visitors for their subscription to the website newsletter to be able to  "unblock" the news:

Read more about this case here.


Other alternatives are more intertwined to improve advertising, for example, using "Native" and less intrusive ads.

For example, these are some of the rules promoted by Adblock Plus to access their "White list":

  • Only static ads (no animations, sounds or similar)
  • Preferably only text, without images calling for attention
  • Ad location
    • Ads should never hide the website contents (for example, making the user to press a button to close the ad and see the website).
    • In those sites containing a text to be read by the user, the ads should not appear in the middle of it, interrupting the reading flow. Instead, they may be situated above, underneath or to the sides of the text. The same applies to websites of searching results, payment and organic results cannot be mixed.
    • When the ads are located over the contents of a website, they will not make the user move the text downwards. As the vertical available space may be at least of 700 pixels, the ad should not occupy more than 1/3 of such height. Payment results in searching websites may occupy a greater space, but payment results should not exceed real results.
    • When the ad is located on a side, enough space should be left for its contents. In view that the horizontal available space should be at least of 1000 pixels, the ad should not occupy more than 1/3 of such space.
  • The ad should be clearly marked as such by the word "Ad" or its equivalent and should be distinguished from the contents of the website (through a different border and/or back color).
  • The sign and location requirements are not applied to links with ID referred to membership programs inserted in website contents. Additional criteria for those links with a membership ID:
    • Redirections originated in the ink should not redirect to any other website other than the destination website.
    • In the texts, no more than 2% of words may be interlinked with monetary purposes.
    • Links should not have a different format or behavior vis a vis any other link.
    • Links should not induce to mistakes or misunderstandings, both in contents and placement.



The IAB in UK launched a program in October 2015, which will be devoted to promote solutions to face the ad-blocking. Among the solutions they highlight to follow the industry standards. Some of them may be distinguished in their acronym:

  • L: Light. Limited file size with strict data call guidelines.
  • E: Encrypted. Assure user security with https/SSL compliant ads.
  • A: Ad Choices Support. All ads should support DAA’s consumer privacy programs.
  • N: Non-invasive/Non-disruptive. Ads that supplement the user experience and don’t disrupt it. This includes covering content and sound enabled by default.

We also leave hereunder the FAQ Guide about Adblocking published by the IAB UK in October of this year: IAB Ad Blocking FAQs 2015


To sum up, from e-planning, we believe that it is important to be informed about this trend, which will be surely growing, to be ready and face this issue the best way possible.



Related links:


Page Fair:

Adblock Plus:

Ad Blocking: What you need to know

IAB UK launches principles to address Ad Blocking

How the IAB plans to fight ad blocking

Ad Blocking: A Growing Audience, but Little Advertiser Panic—Yet

'The Washington Post' comienza a bloquear a los usuarios que usen AdBlock

Axel Springer contra los adblockers: bloquea a usuarios de Bild que los usen
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