How to Deal with Ad Blockers on Twitch

It is not a secret that many Twitch viewers are using AdBlock and similar alternatives to avoid ads popping-up during streams. Indeed, today’s advertisements are getting more intrusive and interruptive. However, turning on an ad blocker means that a lot of money is lost for both Twitch and partnered streamers. Twitch itself wears two hats in this situation: it acts as ad publisher and a content producer at the same time. On the one hand, Twitch is primarily interested in its own revenue. On the other, producing annoying and disruptive advertising may negatively impact the amount of viewers and subscribers. Twitch userbase is very young and in its majority doesn’t have funds for Prime and no patience for ads. They grew up with free Internet, where most stuff was free, no paywalls existed and ads were rare. Most of them find advertising frustrating, hate midrolls and prefer leaving a stream as soon as there is a break in the content. It is a generation of people that don’t like to wait and miss their time on trashy ads. However, it is not all that simple. Quality entertainment these days cannot be free: viewers should either pay money or invest time on watching ads. The streamers must have an income when they are streaming fulltime. So, is there any compromise and workable solution to suit both sides? Let’s see!

Why Do Twitch Viewers Tend to Block Ads?

The recent consumer research shows that digital advertising doesn’t have a good reputation. Most people agree that they would love to be able to filter out only useful ads, however, it is impossible. The only way is either block ads or stay watching all of them. In fact, viewers don’t hate ads, they hate only bad ads.

16% of people say they would disable the ad blocker for the site, but more—28%—would simply stop going to the site.

Here are some of the most common reasons why Twitch users dislike ads and prefer installing ad blockers:

  • Ads are disruptive
It is not like TV where when an ad plays you aren’t missing something. Some streamers spam their 3-minutes ads during the game, making viewers miss a part of interaction and gameplay.
  • It feels like you are losing control
Ad blocking helps to regain control over your browsing experience and consumed content. Many people sincerely state that they don’t care how websites and streamers make their money.
  • Ads are annoying
Every time you refresh a page on Twitch (mainly because of poor Internet), you get bombarded with ads and miss a lot going on in the game.
  • Ads slow down load time and bandwidth usage
Midroll ads slow down the wait time for the video to load. One of the most notable benefits of ad blockers is that they help speed up your Internet connection.

So, What Is a Workable Solution?

Though online users have declared a war against pop-ups and other digital ads, publishers are not going down without a fight. They continue searching new ways to block the ad blockers. Due to the newest software, it is easy to detect whether a site visitor is using ad blocker or not, enabling websites to address direct messages to these users or withhold some content. For the most part, there are only a few options to address the effects of ad blocking on websites’ business:
  • Using special software that helps them get around certain ad blocking software and extensions by reinserting ads.
  • Applying to and paying to become a part of a whitelist of websites maintained by ad blocking organizations and promising to display only appropriate ads. Many large companies, such as Google. Microsoft, Taboola, Reuters, have paid to become a part of an Acceptable Ads Program by Adblock Plus.
  • Elaborate different ways to make viewers turn off their ad blocks in order to get access to valuable content. Another way is providing the viewers with free-ad subscription options.

A few famous sites have experimented with different ideas on how to bypass ad blockers:

  • In 2016, Wired.com decided to limit access to their content to all users who use ad blockers. They provide arguments to their readers on why they need advertising. For now, users have two options on the site: adding it to a whitelist or donate a dollar per week and get no ads.
  • Washington Post asks their ad blocker users to create an account or subscribe in order to have access to all content.
  • The Guardian doesn’t cut access to their viewers. But, when their program detects an ad blocker extension, a subtle call to action in the bottom of the page appears asking users to support the site with donation.
How to Deal with Ad Blockers on Twitch
  • The German newspaper Bild has blocked access to all website content for ad blocker users. To be able to read Bild articles, one should turn off an ad blocking extension for this particular website.
How to Deal with Ad Blockers on Twitch It still remains unclear whether these strategies work. Limited data on their effectiveness is available in public resources.

Twitch Chose Its Own Way How to Bypass Ad Blockers: SureStream System

In 2016, Twitch introduced its SureStream system, launching a new advertising format that can override ad blocking software and make it more difficult for viewers to ignore all ads. Basically, Twitch has moved from putting ads as an overlay on the stream to inserting it into the actual video stream. Once enabled, Twitch’s SureStream ads can’t be bypassed by the viewers with the help of ad blockers.

“We hope to provide you with more opportunity to earn revenue from ads. Your channel subscriptions become more valuable as the ad-free benefit gets more meaningful, while the overall experience for your viewers will be improved, making your content more sticky,” Twitch explains the benefits of SureStream for partnered streamers.

With these changes, ads become of higher quality and the volume is the same as what you had it set on the volume bar before. The announced goal is to offer broadcasters a better experience than third-party ad networks. But, for sure, the larger goal is to bring more potential ad revenue in-house.

“We can begin fixing a long-standing ad volume problem on Twitch. Your ears will thank us. You will also get a more seamless ad playback experience with less pausing and freezing,” Twitch explains the benefits of a new system for viewers.

For now, it remains unclear whether SureStream has a positive impact on the overall streamers’ and viewers’ experience. There are a number of Twitch viewers today who can’t stand watching ads and in the current situation they have two options: stop watching Twitch streams or upgrade to ad-free subscription viewing.

Takeaway

Since the appearance of SureStream, many ad blocking technologies are not working properly on Twitch. However, Twitch viewers continue to experiment with different software to bypass ads. Probably, the only way out for both Twitch and viewers is finding the happy medium. Twitch streamers can’t afford to abandon all ads from their broadcasts. But, they can choose the time of ads demonstration, its duration and type. Streamers who respect their followers will never lay ads over the gameplay. At the same time, a dedicated viewer can help his/her favorite streamer to earn more money by simply whitelisting him/her in ad blocking extension. It is all about mutual interests and understanding the ways how websites and streamers make their living. There are now multiple ways to both support streamers and have ad-free experience: Twitch Prime subscriptions, Turbo and personal channel subscriptions. For those who can’t afford ad-free streams, watching ads is an alternative way to support people that make interesting content in exchange.

6/19/2017