How To Protect Your Ad Revenue From Bad Ads

by Matt Peck, on Jun 10, 2021 9:00:00 AM

Driving traffic to your site is not only challenging, but it can also be expensive.

So the last thing you want is to scare that user away with a bad experience once you’ve worked so hard - and spent so much - to bring them to your site.

Bad and harmful ads can damage your user experience and cut into your overall revenue by driving users away from your site and brand.

Many advertising groups and networks have strict ad quality policies, but sophisticated malvertisers are capable of finding ways to sneak passed detection software by cloaking their URL, or burying malicious activity deep within their ad’s code. 

This means that without the correct know-how and security, your site is at constant risk of malicious advertising attacks.

Here are some helpful tips to getting ahead of the bad guys.

Get Involved

A mistake many publishers make is treating advertising as a set it and forget it operation. This can be threatening to your site's security, user experience, and overall revenue.

Peeking at your publishing KPIs every once in a while may lead you to believe that you are experiencing a normal ebb and flow of website traffic and ad revenue. But it is likely there are a number of hidden issues that are flying by undetected.

Taking your ad revenue seriously means taking a hard look at your performance indicators, recognizing what may be unusual, and understanding why spikes are happening.

A helpful tip is to not forget to take the time and explore the front end of your site so you can see the ad experience you are providing your users first hand. You may be surprised by what you find.


Watch Your Metrics

On the back end of your site, keep a close eye on key performance indicators like bounce rates and session lengths. If certain content and web pages are seeing an unusual shift in either of these, and your strategy has stayed more or less consistent, then it may not be the content that is driving users away.

Pop-ups, redirects, and offensive or shocking advertisements can have a significant impact on your user experience. Not only do these ads put users at risk for online scams, misinformation, and frustrating experiences, they can also affect your site performance by lengthening load times. 

All of these are factors that may be driving users away from your website, and ones that may not be immediately apparent.

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How cleanAD Completely Eliminated Malicious Redirects, Freeing up 60 Hours of AdOps Effort per Week, for Venatus Media

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Listen to Your Users

Leaving an option for feedback and comments across your site, content, and social posts should be a staple of your online strategy. 

Not only can you engage with your audience and learn how to better tailor your site to their needs and interests, but it can also lend you valuable insight on your site performance that you may be missing.

These attacks are often hidden and happen user to user, not necessarily site wide. Leaving the door open to feedback, and taking the time to engage with your users, might alert you to these malicious attacks and save you in the end. 


Partner With Reliable Ad Networks, DSPs, and SSPs

Do the legwork to figure out where these bad ads are coming from and add them to your block list. And if you are finding it to be a recurring issue, stop partnering with networks that are letting them slip by.

It's important to hold suppliers responsible so they will take the issue seriously and work to help create a more secure online advertising community. 

Use the power of your wallet to incentivize ad suppliers to offer a safer experience for users.


How to Block Bad Ads in Google Ad Manager

If you are using Google Ads Manager or a similar tool, start with finding the source of the bad ad. Locate the bad ad on your site, then copy the URL the ad is redirecting to.

Once you have the URL, go to the protections section of your ad manager and add the URL to your block list.

On Google ad Manager, the page will look like this:

Google Ad Manager Blocking


Click on “New protection” to open the page where you will enter the URL: 


Google Ad Manager Blocking


Google Ad Manager gives you the option to either block all of this site’s inventory or just specific kinds of ads related to their site.

Google Ad Manager Blocking


Google Ad Manager Blocking


Next enter the advertiser’s URL you want to block and click save. Google will now be blocking ad inventory from that specified URL.


Using Google AdSense?

If you are just running a programmatic campaign through Adsense, there is still a way to manually block malicious advertisers from appearing on your site.

Log into your AdSense account, click on “Blocking Controls” in the sidebar, then select “Content”.

Google Ad Sense Blocking

Select which site, or sites, you want to block the ad on. If you want to block the advertiser across on all sites, you can select “All Sites”.

Next enter the URLs you want blocked under “Manage Advertisers URLs”. Make sure to use commas between URLs if you are blocking more than one URL, then click “Block URLs” in order to save your new block list.


Can’t Get the Advertisers URL?

Not a problem. Just screenshot the bad ad and take it to Google’s Ad Review Center. This tool allows publishers to block ads case by case. Simply upload the screenshot, select “block this ad”, and Google will start preventing that ad from appearing on your site.

Also, if you believe the ad is violating Google’s quality policies, you can report the ad to be reviewed.  

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Partner With an Ad Security Company

If you can’t already tell, manually tracking down your bad ads and entering in URLs or screenshots one by one can be incredibly tedious and time consuming. 

Also it isn’t a complete solution to your problem. Sophisticated malicious advertisers can easily find ways around block lists, leaving your users still vulnerable to attacks.

An effective way to get a head of these malvertisors is to partner with an ad security company. These agencies will run their own programs, track malicious attacks, and block bad advertisers for you. 

This way you can rest easy knowing your site is being monitored by experts, while also receiving the best information you can on how to better protect your website.


Hit Them Where It Hurts

Partnering with an ad security company is an effective way to fight off most malicious ads, but many of these groups still rely heavily on blocklists that advertisers can find their way around. 

On top of this, you don’t get paid for the ad impressions you block.

Our cleanAD software uniquely blocks malicious ads in real time, as the malicious code is beginning to execute. This means we don’t rely on blocklists and the ad impression still fires, keeping the bad guys out while still putting money in your pocket.

This not only protects your ad revenue channel, but also disincentivizes bad actors from advertising on your site because they are now paying for ads that are not bringing them any traffic.

As we have said before, you may be suffering from bad ads without even realizing it. cleanAD offers a 14 day free trial, so if you're interested in how removing bad advertisements will affect your ad revenue and site KPIs, give us a try and see if we offer you a helpful solution. 

Topics:AdOps Strategy

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