How Do You Get Readers to Stop Using Ad Blockers? Try Asking.
Last week Dennis Publishing announced the results of a six-month test campaign to engage ad blocking users. Nick Flood, Dennis Publishing’s product and commercial operations director, explains that ad blocking has been steadily rising across the publisher’s websites, including The Week, Car Buyer, and Alphr. In particular, ad blocking is prevalent on sites that attract a younger demographic. “Ad blocking rates hit 13% globally across mobile and desktop, so we started to communicate with our visitors and explain the value exchange that’s required for us to continue publishing premium content,” says Flood.
Dennis Publishing used Sourcepoint, a technology that offers compensation choices to users that block ads, to track ad block usage and test messaging to different user demographics. The goal is to convince users to whitelist Dennis Publishing sites or opt-in to viewing ads in order to access premium content. Results of the campaign were positive: 57% of ad block users that viewed this messaging opted in to view ads and 38% whitelisted Dennis Publishing’s sites. In the following interview, Flood explains how Dennis Publishing launched the initiative and how it’s educating ad blocking users about the value of its content.
What are the goals of this campaign to engage with ad blockers?
As a premium publisher, it is vital that a value exchange is communicated to users accessing our portfolio of sites. Using the Sourcepoint platform we wanted to use a data-driven approach to testing various messages and compensation options.
What key considerations did you make in your planning?
We thought carefully about the first four sites to use the technology on (carbuyer.co.uk, theweek.co.uk, alphr.com and itpro.co.uk). Each site attracts a different type of user so we could collect as much data as possible to see what resonated in terms of messaging and compensation options.
How did you roll out this solution to your readers?
We steadily opened up the test to cohorts of users and experimented with a variety of different messages by geography and referrer. After the initial data was so positive, we continued to test and expose the messaging to bigger segments of our audience.
What have the results been so far?
We have seen excellent engagement rates with both the messages shown to users and the compensation options we presented. Up to 57% of users clicked to opt-in to seeing advertisements in exchange for accessing our premium content. Up to 38% of users also selected to whitelist our sites.
What recommendations would you make for publishers considering a similar initiative?
Understand your ad block rates by device and geography so you can plan a strategy to re-engage with users. Test a number of compensation methods, some will work better than others.
How might this solution evolve in the future?
We will continue to test a number of new compensation methods to see what best resonates with our users. The data from our initial six-month trial clearly shows that users are willing to opt-in to see advertising in exchange for accessing premium content.