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UK publisher wins back ad blockers

News, 24 February 2017
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LONDON: Dennis Publishing, the UK publisher of a range of consumer titles, has conducted a six-month trial that has persuaded nearly six in ten (57%) of its ad blocking readers to view ads.

The company deployed Sourcepoint's Dialogue technology, which enables publishers to send different messages to ad blocking users, across four of its sites – The Week, Carbuyer.co.uk, IT Pro and Alphr.com – and was pleased with the results.

Since 13% of its readers use ad blockers, it meant there was a "sizable recovery of revenues," according to Nick Flood, Director of Product and Commercial Operations at Dennis Publishing, in comments to AdExchanger.

However, he added: "We've learned from the test that every site has a different type of message that resonates with the user."

The trial revealed that users were inclined to support sites that donate to charities and good causes, but also that users liked choice. When given two options instead of one, engagement increased 61%, the company reported.

Also of particular note to publishers and advertisers alike, Dennis Publishing found that a subtle approach did not work.

Only 3% of users responded when it featured a small, sticky bar on the bottom of the screen encouraging users to disable their ad blockers. Yet, 80% of users responded when content was blocked.

That last finding chimes with a new report from the Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB) UK, which reported that the biggest reason people switch off their ad blockers, aside from switching to a new device (24%), is not being able to access some content with the blocker installed (24%). That is up from 16% a year ago, the IAB added.

Based on responses from more than 2,000 UK adults, the IAB also revealed that the proportion of UK online consumers who currently use ad blockers has remained at around 22% for the last year.

"The continued rise in ad blocking that some predicted simply hasn't materialised," said Jon Mew, CEO of the IAB.

"A key reason is publishers denying access to content to ad blockers which, in effect, has created that 'lightbulb' moment for people who realise that they cannot access free content without seeing the advertising that funds it. The industry has worked hard on promoting this 'value exchange' and it's paying off."

Data sourced from AdExchanger, IAB UK; additional data by Warc staff

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