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Dennis find success in ad block battle: results from six-month test project

Up to 57 per cent of users with ad block software opted to receive ads when educated about content compensation, and up to 38 per cent selected to whitelist sites.

Dennis, a FIPP member, has today announced the results from its six-month test period using Sourcepoint’s Dialogue™ solution, a technology platform that allows users to choose how they compensate publishers for premium content. When presented with custom messages that educate and initiate conversations around compensation choice, up to 57 per cent of ad block users continued their visit by enabling ads with a one-click opt-in solution, and up to 38 per cent of users added sites to their ad block whitelist.

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Motivated by growing ad block usage and the desire to create a transparent value exchange with users, Dennis engaged with a variety of audience segments via Dialogue’s multi-functional targeting ability. Bespoke messages – each adjusted according to specific audience segment preferences and publisher branding – were deployed to engage with users before editorial content could be accessed from four of Dennis’ online properties. The key objectives of the test were to learn about the preferences of different audience segments such as those browsing in particular countries or arriving at sites via social media versus search, and determine the most effective combination of compensation alternatives. 

Highlights from the six-month test period include: 

• A wide range of compensation options were presented to the user including: opting in to view advertising, whitelisting the site, or watching video content in exchange for an ad-free experience

• Up to 57 per cent of users opted into continuing their visit with ads enabled via a one-click solution

• Up to 38 per cent of users selected to add the publisher’s site to their ad block whitelist

• Messages that featured multiple compensation options increased engagement rates – configurations that featured two compensation choices increased user engagement by an average of 61 per cent 

• Engagement rates with messages that were easily dismissible by users were 80 times lower

• When users chose to view video content in exchange for ad-free browsing, Dennis measured a 75 per cent view-through rate 

• A/B testing was conducted to understand the impact of position on page,  message design, and wording to best optimise results

Commenting on the campaign, Nick Flood, product & commercial ops director at Dennis, said: “We realised how difficult it was for us to communicate with ad block users whilst getting them to whitelist our sites or opt into advert driven experiences. We decided to engage the 13 per cent of users that are using ad blockers across our portfolio of sites through Sourcepoint’s Dialogue platform. We firmly believe a value exchange needs to be established between brands and users to safeguard future revenues. These results demonstrate that users are happy to engage with tailored messages and opt into to a range of advertising experiences in exchange for access to premium editorial content. 

Flood continued: “The results from our test period using the Dialogue platform are extremely encouraging. In a short period of time we were able to re-engage a significant proportion of ad block uses that visit our sites. We will be incorporating this data into future strategy considerations.”

Ben Barokas, co-founder and CEO at Sourcepoint, commented: “The results from Dennis’ test campaign are impressive and demonstrate the impact of clear and balanced communications. Rather than the assumption that digital advertising is received negatively by audiences, it highlights the fact that many accept advertising as a means of paying for content once a user is educated on the principles of a value exchange. Publishers must also take the opportunity to see beyond solely ad block users and focus on improving the user experience while educating the entire audience at scale.” 

Barokas continued: “Transparency continues to be a growing industry concern, as highlighted by Marc Pritchard’s infamous session at the IAB’s Leadership Summit earlier this year, and premium publishers can differentiate themselves by engaging in open communications with audiences. Dialogue was designed to allow publishers to initiate conversations around compensation choice and understand the impact those messages have and how varied alternatives for audience segments have the potential to revolutionise the way we consume content, while protecting the future of our industry.”

Dennis Publications is a member of FIPP.

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