Ad Blockers vs. Customer Hijacking Prevention: What’s the Difference?
September 4, 2019
by Tirtza Giles
Although awareness of the need for Customer Hijacking Prevention (CHP) is increasing, many people are still unfamiliar with the ways injected ads work, the risks they pose to eCommerce companies, and the ways they can be blocked.
In contrast, even many consumers without technical expertise are familiar with today’s popular ad-blocking browser extensions, which confront problems that are far more apparent to these consumers (namely, irritating and invasive advertising). Like CHP, those ad blockers are designed to identify unwanted ads and prevent them from appearing on a user’s desktop computer, smartphone, or other digital device.
Because of that superficial similarity, we can shed light on how CHP works and the benefits that it offers retailers by contrasting it with ad-blocking tools such as AdBlock.
With that goal in mind, here is a look at three of the most important differences between ad blockers and Namogoo’s Customer Hijacking Prevention solution:
1. Ad blockers work for consumers. CHP works for retailers.
In a sense, all of the differences between the two solution types stem from their differing clientele: Ad blockers are designed for regular consumers, whereas Namogoo’s Customer Hijacking Prevention solution was created to help online retailers.
Consumers’ reasons for wanting ad blockers are obvious: Ads can be annoying and time-consuming, they can hinder the performance of digital devices, and they generally make for a worse user experience. In some cases, advertising practices can also cause privacy concerns for individuals.
For retailers, however, customers’ annoyance at excessive advertising is just a small part of the motivation for turning to CHP. To get a full sense of what is at stake for eCommerce companies, first we need to take a look at the types of ads that CHP blocks: injected ads.
That brings us to the second difference between ad blockers and Customer Hijacking Prevention.
2. They classify different ads as unwanted.
While consumer preferences differ, there are certain types of ads that are widely considered objectionable. The Coalition for Better Ads, on which Google based its standards for automatically blocking ads within Chrome, identified four types of desktop ads and eight kinds of mobile ads as being particularly bothersome to the customer experience. In addition, some ad blockers aim to prevent advertisers from tracking and personally targeting consumers.
In contrast, from the perspective of online retailers, any injected ad is a problem worthy of being blocked. That’s because injected ads are promotions that are displayed within a user’s browser as a result of either malware or (less frequently) WiFi hijacking. These ads appear specifically when the user visits an eCommerce website (during 15-25% of all online shopping sessions), and many of them are designed to appear as if they were part of that site yet they are ads hijacking the browser. They are especially threatening to the brand reputations of online retailers because many of these ads promote adult websites and online gambling and gaming.
But the majority of injected ads (60-65%, according to data gathered by Namogoo) aim to steal customers away from a given eCommerce website by promoting similar products sold on competing websites. This way, the people behind Customer Journey Hijacking make money through an unscrupulous approach to affiliate marketing. In some cases, these bad actors will even redirect users from a retailer’s website back to the same site and then charge that retailer an affiliate fee.
Once we understand what injected ads are and the impact they can have on eCommerce companies, it’s not hard to see why these companies are increasingly motivated to block those ads through Customer Hijacking Prevention. Retailers that have used Namogoo’s CHP solution have consistently enjoyed a 2-5% increase in their overall conversion rate, resulting in a 5-7% increase in revenue per visitor.
3. The two solution types run in opposite directions.
Because ad blockers and Customer Hijacking Prevention address such different types of advertisements – and because they serve such different types of customers – the two kinds of solutions also work in different ways on a technical level.
While there are some variations among today’s ad blockers, one factor that they have in common is that they run on the end user’s digital device. In most cases, the ads that these solutions block come from a website that the user is visiting (although these ads may be delivered via third-party services). As a result, when an ad blocker successfully prevents an ad from appearing, it typically does so by blocking incoming data from reaching the user’s display.
In contrast, Namogoo’s Customer Hijacking Prevention solution is deployed via a single line of code within a retailer’s website – while the ads that this solution blocks are most often a result of malware running on the end user’s device. In this sense, our solution’s approach to preventing unwanted ads is largely a mirror image of the approach used by ad-blocking browser extensions.
Seeing the big picture
Taken together, the differences between ad blockers and Namogoo’s Customer Hijacking Prevention solution paint a clear picture of two kinds of tools using somewhat comparable technologies to achieve very different goals for very different clientele. While ad blockers work to provide consumers with the browsing experience that they want, CHP empowers online retailers to protect the customer journeys on which their sales revenue depends.
That fundamental difference explains why the two solutions take such different approaches to blocking ads. Just as importantly, it explains why Customer Hijacking Prevention is no substitute for ad blockers – and why ad blockers are no substitute for CHP.
What can Customer Hijacking Prevention do for your eCommerce website? To see the impact of injected ads within your online store, you can get a free website analysis.