What Are Ad Blockers and How Do They Effect Your Analytics


A few months ago in September 2015, Apple announced that it would be enabling ad-blocking apps through its iOS 9 mobile operating system – meaning iPhones and iPads running on iOS 9 would now prevent ads from being shown when a website is visited. This move led many to ask, “what are ad blockers?” and how they might impact their browsing experience. The Safari and Chrome browser extension AdBlock has also become available, which allows users to block all ads by default while web browsing. For those unfamiliar, what are ad blockers? They are tools or extensions that prevent advertisements from being displayed on web pages.

While seen as a benefit to most consumers, these changes have unfortunately impacted website owners in several negative ways: Besides obviously blocking ads from being displayed on website pages, the blocker apps have also been known to disrupt the way the pages are rendered, skewing their content and design. This has led to a surge in questions like “what are ad blockers doing to my site?” They also have a block tracker setting which blocks analytics tags from downloading and firing when a page loads in Safari or Chrome where these extensions or iOS systems are being used – meaning visits to your website from these browsers will not be tracked in your analytics system.


Google Analytics, or any other analytics platform, helps businesses and website owners understand their website traffic: who and where their traffic is coming from, any issues with their website and how they can improve it, how users are interacting with website content, and which pages are the highest performing. With the rise of ad blockers, many are asking, “what are ad blockers’ effects on my analytics?” It’s impossible to understand this information without analytics data, which is why it’s important for you to know how to detect traffic that is being blocked by the ad blocker apps and extensions, and get back to truly understanding your website visitors.

The first step in tracking the use of ad blockers in Google Analytics involves some html coding, which is described in detail in this post from Martijn Hoiting:

First we have to create a new Custom Html tag. Inside it we have our fake Advertisement.

After this we include jQuery, and our script to dectect if our fake advertisement is shut down by determining the height of our div.


adblock tag script

We wil fire this tag on All pages.

And the code:

Do Ad Blockers Work on YouTube?

One of the common questions arising from the ad-blocking phenomenon is, “Do ad blockers work on YouTube?” The answer is yes. Many ad blockers can effectively block ads on YouTube. This means users can watch videos without interruptions from commercials. However, it’s essential to understand that while ad blockers can enhance the user experience, they also deprive content creators of revenue. So, when considering “Do ad blockers work on YouTube?”, it’s also vital to weigh the pros and cons for both viewers and creators.

This new ad blocker saga stresses the importance of a consistent review of your analytics data; any major website traffic changes that cannot easily be explained by your seasonality, business changes, etc., are likely due to site issues that might require immediate attention. Suppose you’ve noticed a significant decrease in your website traffic around the same time Apple announced its iOS 9, for example, and depending on your website audience. In that case, chances are you’re being affected by ad blockers.


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