Issue #9 : Early March

Issue #9 : Early March
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It's March and I am here with good news for Issue 9... It's not all about cookies and privacy! Like the green shoots of spring, non-privacy stories have begun to surface after a winter of way too much cookie news. Don't panic though privacy fans, I still have a little something for you courtesy of LiveRamp and The Trade Desk.

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In this issue...

  • 80% of publishers failing to recover revenue from ad blocking
  • DMCA takedowns can tank traffic by 89%
  • Cloudflare users need to change this setting
  • LiveRamp and TDD tackle competition ID standards... by launching a new ID Standard
  • Desktop Page Experience Update Complete
  • Ukraine War Impact on Publishers
  • Have an ads or publishing question?
  • More stories in short
  • Wrapping up

80% of publishers failing to recover revenue from adblocking

In the last issue I asked readers what they currently do to mitigate adblocking and I was surprised by the results.

Just over 50% of publishers say they are doing nothing about adblocking on their websites.  Of those that do have measures in place to address it, the most popular solution (40%) was nag/reminder notices managed in house, which most experts agree don't really work. That means that 80% of publishers who responded are doing nothing to recover revenue from users who block ads.

What to do then? Ad Block recovery means serving "Acceptable" ads to those users who have these enabled in their ad blocker. That doesn't include the most militant adblocker users, but does encompass a lot of users as this is the default setting on many popular ad blockers. The best option for larger publishers (those with tens of millions of pageviews) is probably to work directly with one of the adblock recovery services. I have previously mentioned Blockthrough and Admiral; two services that take slightly different, but equally valid approaches. Blockthrough have a useful calculator here that will give you some idea of the revenue you might be able to recover using such a service.

For publishers with more modest traffic numbers, it may not be viable to work directly with such a service. In these cases it is right to lean on your monetisation partners. If you are working with a third party to monetize your ad inventory then push them for adblock recovery. Most monetization companies have relationships in place with these providers and can give you access.  

DMCA takedowns can tank traffic by 89%

A number of interesting Google documents are surfacing as a result of the various legal challenges the company is facing. One relating to Google's "Pirate Update" particularly caught my eye this week, as it deals with potentially massive traffic loss to publisher sites.

The Pirate update demotes sites that have received a "high number" of DMCA take-down requests (copyright infringement claims). The demotion is applied at site, not page, level and sees an average drop in organic search traffic of 89%.

The updates are not new, so isn't something for sites not actively breaching copyright to be immediately  concerned about. The potential impact of the update is news though, so it well-worth being aware of, particularly for publishers who allow user generated content or working in super-competitive niches where DMCA takedowns are used maliciously. More on TorrentFreak

Cloudflare users need to change this setting

I make no secret of being a big fan of Cloudflare. Even at the free level the popular CDN service can bring a host of benefits to site owners, including improvements in speed and reliability. One of those benefits is the "Always on" service.

Always On serves up a cached copy of your site in the event that it is unreachable for some reason. Whilst not being unreachable is obviously a far better option, problems do sometimes occur and Always-On is useful in those situations.

Cloudflare is changing the way that Always-On works, now partnering with the Internet Archive for the cacheing. That is great, but means that users now have to opt in to use the service, which is just a flick of a virtual switch in the dashboard.  More on this here.

LiveRamp and TDD tackle competing ID standards... by launching a new ID Standard


OK, maybe it isn't quite as bad as the XKCD take on it, and LiveRamp and The Trade Desk working together might just be enough. The new ID has an EU focus and promises GDPR compliance. More from Ad Exchanger

Desktop Page Experience Update Complete

Google have announced that their Desktop Page Experience update is now complete. The update began rolling out to data centres worldwide on February 22nd and was completed on March 3rd.

The change means that Core Web Vitals results now impact your website's ranking for desktop traffic as well as mobile. This could be a significant impact for some publishers, particularly those with older websites. More here.

Ukraine War Impact on Publishers

Ukraine is a Country that many in the space have long felt an affiliation with, due to the country's track record of producing excellent technical people. Whilst I am sure everyone is rightly focused on the real impact of the awful situation there, it's my role to highlight some of the less important (but more relevant to this newsletter) impact on publisher businesses.

  • Consumers flock to news consumption. AdAge is quoting data from Tubular Labs showing a near-doubling of video news consumption in the last two weeks of February.
  • Social Media blocked in Russia. Between platforms boycotting Russia and the Kremlin blocking them, access to social media for Russian citizens has been greatly reduced. Publishers used to receiving Russian traffic from Facebook, Twitter, TikTok and others impacted.
  • Buyers blocking Russian Advertisers. I've spotted a few threads like this and this on /r/adops with buyers sharing lists of sites, YouTube channels connected to the Russian State with the intention of blocking them.
  • Russia State Owned Publishers monetization blocked. Google have cut of ad monetization for media outlets owned by the Russian state, including RT and Sputnik. The block seems to impact both ads and their Google Play store listings.  Google have also now enacted their "sensitive events policy" and blocked all ad sales through Russia (not just state media).  I've not yet seen mention of any other Exchange or SSP doing the same. More
  • Russian State backed social media channels blocked in Europe. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and TikTok have all blocked official channels from broadcasting in the UK and Europe. Russia's bizarre response seems to be to have scores of TikTok influencers read from the same script in support of the war. So weird.
  • Yandex says it may have to shut down. Yandex, Russia's largest search engine, has announced that sanctions may force it to close. More

None of this is important in the grand scheme of things, but it would be remiss not to cover it.

Click the heart for 26 ways you can support the people of Ukraine

Have an ads or publishing question?

Do you have a question you would like to see answered here? Click below and I'll do my best either to answer the question or find someone else who can.

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Still not had enough? Here's some further reading for your enjoyment:

  • The Financial Time has hit an impressive milestone with 1million paying subscribers. More.
  • Facebook Reels (Meta's answer to TikTok) expanded to more than 150 Countries. More.

Wrapping up

That's everything for this issue. As ever, I'll be back in around 2 weeks with another update. If you find this round up useful be sure to add yourself to the email list at where you can also find an archive of past issues.   If you would like to get in touch, for feedback, discuss any issues or just to say "Hi", I can be reached at