How Ad-Shield defeated ad blockers while others failed
September 22, 2023
In only a few years, Ad-Shield has recovered billions of ad-blocked pageviews. At 90%, we have the highest recovery rate in the world, successfully mitigating over 4,000 targeted ad block filter updates.
No other solution has come close to approaching our ad block recovery rate. Acceptable Ads’ white-listing program recovers 15-25%. Similarly, traditional ad block circumvention’s recovery rate is 10-30%. Many customers, engineers, and investors have asked how we achieved what no other solution on the market has yet to accomplish. This blog post reveals the secrets to our success.
Secret #1: Ad-Shield’s engineers are expert ad block developers
Behind every great product is a great team. While members across our organization have prior ad tech experience, many of our engineers have direct and extensive experience with ad blockers. One founding member was the key figure behind the world’s most advanced VPN-based ad block technology; others started their own ad block with over one million users; others still developed cutting-edge filters for ad block circumvention. As past ad block developers, we understand ad blocking technology, operations, and limitations better than anyone else. Our combined experiences enabled us to create a powerful solution against ad blockers, yielding effective results and guaranteeing Ad-Shield’s reliability.
Secret #2: Ad-Shield Runtime, our integrity-guaranteed, unblockable technology
Leveraging our knowledge of ad blockers’ limitations, our dev team created Ad-Shield Runtime. Ad-Shield Runtime is an integrity-guaranteed virtual layer that runs on top of browsers. Ad blockers’ static filters such as HTML/CSS/network/etc. are unable to block scripts or rendered web elements executed in Ad-Shield Runtime. Blocking attempts by dynamic filters are also neutralized through simple integrity checks. As a result, Runtime is virtually ad block proof, capable of recovering advertisements in various environments.
For non-technical folks requiring a quick primer: in simple terms, ads are displayed by running ad scripts. Ad blockers use filters to prevent scripts from running, thus preventing advertisements from being displayed. By executing advertising scripts on Runtime’s secure additional layer, existing ads are successfully displayed to ad blocker users.
Secret #3: 24/7 ad block filter monitor
As mentioned earlier, Ad-Shield guarantees a 90%+ recovery rate over multiple years. While Ad-Shield Runtime’s secure layer provides the basis for effective recovery, our 24/7 filter monitor ensures consistent reliability.
Ad-Shield monitors nearly every ad block filter worldwide in real-time. When a filter is updated, screenshots and ad log information are instantly relayed to the dev team. This system allows our engineers to quickly evaluate and identify any updates that may impact Ad-Shield Runtime. If a filter capable of disrupting Runtime is detected, a patch is immediately deployed. These filters typically aim to exploit any vulnerable points in Runtime’s security. We counter by simply adding logic to prevent the insertion of said filter in Runtime’s integrity check, akin to adding a blacklist to a firewall. While it takes weeks for ad blockers to roll out new filters and updates to users, Ad-Shield can update Runtime stage to prod for all users in under one hour.
Secret #4: Ad-Shield innovates while ad blockers face limitations
At Ad-Shield, we’re always incorporating the latest technology to maximize gains for publishers and advertisers. But while Ad-Shield innovates, ad blockers face mounting limitations.
More and more users are browsing the web on mobile over desktop. Yet ad blocks for mobile web are largely underdeveloped. Due to battery and performance issues, Google and Apple have restrictions that significantly hinder mobile ad blocker functionality. Consequently, developers are unable to create robust, fully-functioning ad blockers for mobile web.
Though ad blockers traditionally faced fewer restrictions for desktop web, Google’s recent Chrome Manifest V3 update poses new major challenges. Ad blockers are scrambling to operate with drastically limited filters, and the process of updating filters is now slow and tedious. As a result, ad blockers’ capabilities have weakened immensely. Additional prototypes from Google, such as the Web Environment Integrity API, are also stirring controversy for potentially restricting ad blockers.
Join us in building an Internet enjoyable for everyone
At Ad-Shield, we’re proud to maximize ad revenue for publishers and advertisers while keeping the Internet enjoyable for all. Ad-Shield Runtime works with every ad blocker, in mobile and web, recovering over 90% of ads in any environment. Our solution is designed to ensure compliance with the Better Ads Standards, allowing publishers to monetize ad-block users while respecting their advertising experience. Additionally, with publisher consent, Ad-Shield provides an opt-out functionality for the 1-5% of ad blocker users who do not wish to view any and all ads. Contact us now to find out how Ad-Shield can help your business.