Media Pitch: Admiral Stems Ad Block Losses With Personalized Ad Experiences
Admiral is helping publishers reclaim billions of dollars lost in advertising revenue by taking a personalized approach to ad block prevention. The startup measures ad block rates as well as revenue lost to ad block users and provides publishers with the tools to reengage those users. The startup empowers readers to choose which ad experience is best for them, whether that is to whitelist the site, opt-in for an an ad-lite experience, or pay for ad-free experience, says Admiral founder and CEO Dan Rua. In the following interview Rua explains how Admiral was formed and how it hopes to revolutionize online advertising.
Who are you? What is your technology and how does it work? Who are the entrepreneurs behind it?
Admiral was founded by a core team that previously built music streaming pioneer Grooveshark to reach over 100 million rabid fans worldwide. Grooveshark was doing over a billion ad impressions per month and experienced all the same problems ad-supported publishers face with ad quality and ad blocking.
After managing three venture capital funds and previously backing the team, I joined Admiral’s founders as CEO because of the quality of the team and Admiral’s mission to save the free internet from the impacts of ad blocking. The power of the internet to inform, educate, entertain and connect the world is at risk, and we’re passionate about leaving the most robust internet we can for our kids and grandkids.
Admiral offers the industry’s most comprehensive platform. The platform is made up of four modules: Measure, Engage, Recover, and Transact. Measure is an advanced ad block analytics tool that tracks ad blocking rates and provides revenue loss measurements. This module is free for publishers to install.
Based upon the IAB’s DEAL framework, Engage provides a point and click way to engage ad block users and recover their lost impressions through whitelisting. Engage is the industry’s only DMCA-based copyright access control platform, empowering publishers to control access to their copyrighted content without the ad block cat & mouse typical of most in-house attempts.
Recover allows publishers to give users the option of either whitelisting or proceeding for an ad-lite experience. Recover allows publishers to recover their existing ad stack instead of injecting poor quality, low CPM replacement ads.
Finally Transact enables publishers to create a monetary or non-monetary value exchange for ad-free experiences. Transact offers micropayments at an article level, subscriptions at a site level, or multi-site subscriptions like a “Netflix of the Net.” Transact also enables non-monetary exchanges, like email, social, and sponsored sessions in exchange for ad-free viewing.
Ultimately, the Admiral platform helps publishers engage with their users and grow closer, more personalized relationships than existed before ad block came along — something we call Visitor Relationship Management (VRM).
Explain your existence: What problem are you solving or opportunity are you enabling? How are you unique and innovative?
Admiral helps publishers size and solve their ad block losses. It’s a multi-billion dollar problem, with most publishers losing 10-40% of their revenue due to ad blocking, and many don’t even realize it. Because some ad blockers also circumvent Google Analytics, Omniture, and other measurement tools, many publishers don’t even see the losses until they’re large enough to drive layoffs or worse. Our free Measure module solves that by directly measuring ad block losses, the first step for publishers in sizing and solving their ad block problem.
Admiral’s breadth of platform is unique in the industry. Most others are spot solutions focused on surprise ad reinsertion — something that users and advertisers dislike. We are also the top anti-ad block solution for Cloudflare publishers and operate the Top 5 WordPress plugins related to ad block. Lastly, our DMCA-based copyright access control system is one of the most significant innovations for the category in years and could ultimately be the turning point for an industry trying to re-establish a fair value exchange for content creators.
Inspiration: How did you come up with this idea?
The idea came from firsthand experience as a publisher feeling the pain of revenue losses. Admiral is built by publishers, for publishers.
The reason Admiral is such a broad platform is because of a trend towards personalized experiences. Ad blocking is an example of users wanting more personalized ad experiences, but it’s a brute-force method blocking everything by default. Publishers that adopt the full Admiral platform are empowered to personalize their relationship with visitors, some choosing to whitelist, others choosing ad-lite experiences, and yet others choosing a mix of monetary and non-monetary value exchange for ad-free experiences.
It may have been sufficient the past couple decades to push out content, throw up some ads and not worry about users on a personal level. That’s no longer sufficient. What funded great content for the past couple decades, won’t work for the next couple decades. Our VRM vision is to first help publishers recover large ad block losses and then ultimately transition to relationships and revenue models that will fund great content for the internet’s next couple decades.
Results: How have you or do you plan to help media companies increase revenue or cut costs?
Admiral solves a very straightforward pain point. Once a publisher sees how much they’re losing, they want to get it back. Therefore, we grow recurring publisher revenue the very first day we start recovering with Engage, Recover, or Transact. With built-in analytics from our Measure module, we’re also able to quantify benefits clearly. Lastly, our performance-based revenue model is structured so that we’re aligned to get our publishers the most long-term revenue possible — including personalized user experiences so that revenue gain isn’t short-lived, but continues to grow into the future.
Share some wisdom: What do you think are the most important trends affecting the media business today?
I’m confident that digital publishers are going to earn their revenue very differently over the next decade than they did over the past decade. In particular, more personalized relationships and blockchain advancements could open the door for the Internet’s first large multi-site subscription service. Millions of users have demonstrated a willingness to pay Netflix for ad-free video and Spotify for ad-free music. Admiral’s “Netflix of the Net” is possible as users and publishers build closer relationships and the value of paying one subscription fee for frictionless ad-free viewing across multiple sites exceeds the value of mixed blocking results and declining user experiences for the masses.
We’re not the only ones to see that potential, but we’re growing the largest installed base to make a ubiquitous ad-free service possible. More publishers use Admiral software to size and solve ad block losses than any other competitor — over 12,000 websites worldwide — and that’s the kind of scale and diversity of content that was key to Netflix and Spotify growth.
Right now we’re focused on helping every publisher who signs up to get our free Measure installed and see their adblock losses. From there, we focus on helping them rollout the best recovery plan for their site and their visitors. Although we’re excited by the long-term potential of VRM and “Netflix of the Net,” we’re focused on the unique needs and community of each publisher we serve right now.
If we get that part right, we’ll have a shot at fulfilling our mission of saving the free internet, one publisher at a time.
Dan is the founder and CEO of Admiral, a publisher analytics suite built specifically to help web and mobile publishers understand the impact of adblocking for their site, and automatically recover lost revenues by solving the issues driving adblock adoption specific to their userbase.