- Publishers usually worry about losing ad revenue to ad blocking software, but forget about losing tracking cookies for their data management platforms.
- Ad blockers prevent sites from loading data from blacklisted domains and subdomains, but they also block tracking cookies, potentially rendering site visitors invisible.
- By losing tracking on visitors using ad blocking tech, publishers also lose first-party data on those visitors, including users' viewing habits.
Ad blocking technology causes headaches for publishers in the form of reduced ad revenue on their website, but many publishers don’t take into account another problem the software presents – loss of first-party data as well because visitors using ad blockers aren’t accepting the publisher’s tracking cookies either.
The technology works by preventing blacklisted domains and subdomains from loading elements onto the publisher’s site, effectively blocking ads being served from those domains. But, ad blocking software also blocks tracking cookies that ad networks attempt to place on visiting computers and it also blocks cookies from the publisher’s data management platform. The overall effect of this is the viewing habits – what they read and for how long – of visitors using ad blocking software is unknown to the publisher. That sort of first-party data is very valuable.
Evolve Media president Brian Fitzgerald told Digiday, “It is for sure a concern. We collect valuable first-party data segments from sure visitors. The context of the site defines a key affinity of the consumer, a key interest-based data point.” Adding, “We feel that these context-oriented, interest-based data segments are some of the cleanest, purest, most valuable first-party data segments out there.”