A lot of things happened in 2016: We saw the continual phasing out of Flash marking its definitive end; we saw Virtual Reality gain more market share & gain greater ground; and to most certainly no one’s joy, we began to feel the ripple-like effect of changes made to Visa's chargeback policies and regulations.
Oh, what a wonderful year indeed! But, what’s next in 2017?
Considering how quickly things can always change—in all reality, your guess is as good as ours!
But, from what we do know, we can only assume that the fight & battle for “Banner Display” will rage on...
AdBlock continues to be a domineering force against traditional ad campaigns; Private Browsing is growing in popularity and Mobile browsers are rising to the forefront with new default settings that can only be described as more detrimental to the average affiliate marketing campaign...
So, at the dawn of this New Year, let's take a look at the challenges we will all have to face together in 2017.
Desktop Traffic: The True Casualty of ADBLOCK
While this first one isn't a new challenge by any stretch of the imagination, it's definitely worth noting that war between site owners, AdBlock makers and visitors is far from over.
Far, far from it...
Even with the social central belief that the act of AdBlocking itself will only force an industry to become stronger and will push its marketers to come up with better and more relevant ads... the truth of the matter is, AdBlock’s explosive growth is detrimental down to the very core of an advertisement’s display…
Regardless of relevance, regardless of niche.
The wide-reaching impact and total effect at the end of the day is hard to articulate
We've found that 20% of Desktop users in some cases are oblivious to the fact that the site they’re visiting has advertisements at all as AdBlock’s of course been doing its job in removing the ads.
This is a shame because this particular traffic demographic tends to reach a higher Earnings Per Click (EPC) than without AdBlock software or extensions present on the page.
In fact, we’ve seen up to 40% higher EPC achieved on Ad spots that have been able to bypass AdBlock extensions in some form.
But, is bypassing AdBlock a valid long-lasting, long-term solution?
The battle continues to wage on with some of the web’s biggest players—like Facebook—officially declaring war on the famous plugin.
Since then, the social media giant has fought what seems to be an almost endless war with Adblock: each time Facebook encountered new ways to bypass Adblock, the plugin implemented workarounds to sabotage FB’s efforts.
But in the end, Facebook may actually win the AdBlocking war just by being the biggest company with the most resources to ever take a stand against AdBlock Plus.
Of course, the same can’t be said about the smaller guys with not as many resources, which is the vast amount of site owners and publishers.
A noticeable shift toward Content Locking...
Since most of us don’t have Facebook’s power or leverage, is Content Locking the answer?
Indeed, the new trend as a way of countering AdBlock—mostly among mainstream publishers—is to simply deny access to the visitors who have adblock enabled.
For example, Wired, Forbes & The Telegraph (just to name a few) have succeeded in maintaining their Advertising revenues thanks to this method.
In France, the newspaper “L’Équipe” even stated that more aggressive content locking tactics worked better than ever, which some users may find particularly alarming and annoying.
However, for something like this to be truly effective on a larger scale, content locking must first be adopted by a larger (vast) majority of websites—including sites featuring free adult content.
And that’s obviously not quite the case just yet at the dawn of this new year!
Fortunately for most, AdBlock extensions simply have not affected Mobile traffic as much as they have affected Desktop traffic in terms of the widespread effect.
Indeed, Deloitte Global predicted just 0.3% of all Mobile devices will use or will incorporate an "Ad blocker" in some capacity by the end of 2016, which puts just about 0.1% of the $70 billion mobile advertising market at risk.
Affiliate Marketers beware, though...
Converting Mobile traffic in 2017 will still not be without its challenges.
Mobile Traffic: VPN Browsers & Proxies
As predicted, the amount of Mobile traffic has continued to grow in 2016—and since 90% of the time spent on Mobile is spent on apps rather than browsers—we know AdBlock is not the problem here since we know such a small percentage of this market share is using the infamous plugin.
But maybe don’t pop the champagne just yet...
If you really start to analyze your web traffic traffic logs, you’ll see that VPN usage is on the rise.
Indeed, the rise of private browsers such as Firefox Focus by Mozilla will actually make VPN usage increase and more mainstream than ever before.
And this increased usage will only make Mobile traffic targeting more of a challenge from an affiliate marketing campaign standpoint, in regard to inaccurate geographic location masking and reporting.
Launched in November 2016, the new Firefox Focus browser blocks ad trackers and takes private browsing to a whole new level--which can provide additional bad news for marketers hopeful of conversions after the fact (since private browsing will not save cookies).
Moreover, with the sure to be rampant popularity of new Mobile browsers such as these being developed, the enhanced User Experience comes at the cost of Advertisers and Marketers.
These new privacy-geared browsers tend to even use proxies as well at times.
This can lead to questions such:
- How many Mobile users do you really have on your page?
- Where did your user really come from?
- What is the user’s language / true geographic?
- Which ad of yours did they click?
And the list can go on.
These are just a few questions that could have you scratching your head like never before.
- How does one combat the decline in data?
- What do you do when you don’t really know everything about your own source of traffic and the user at hand?
Well, you show your top converting ad—and hope for the best! Unfortunately, potentially leaving money on the table in the process.
In addition to these new challenges, Google will start to punish mobile pages that display pops or interstitial advertisements beginning January 10, 2017, penalizing these pages and potentially affecting the site’s own PageRank.
But fortunately for us - as we noted and alluded to earlier - the vast majority of Mobile traffic still comes from apps. Therefore, don’t be surprised if we start to see a greater influx of ads within the very own apps that we all tend to use.
‘Cause this marketshare is sure to increase drastically in 2017!
You Are Not Alone
2017 may very well turn out to be a challenging year for affiliate marketers in every vertical — especially adult.
But we assure you, you won’t be combating and dealing with these challenges and hurdles alone, cause CrakRevenue’s got your back!
We're prepared to tackle these obstacles head on and we won't ever become complacent.
We can’t wait to incorporate new strategies and adapt as the landscape in which we play continues to change!
One Question remains: ARE YOU READY TO ADAPT AS WELL?!