Last week, I came across a study conducted by Associated Press reporter Ryan Nakashima and the Bay Area News Group that explored if publishers should raise prices on readers that use ad blockers.
The Lenfest Institute published a fantastic article covering the study and its results. I highly recommend you give it a read.
The Challenge for Publishers
According to eMarketer, 30% of all internet users will be using ad blockers by the end of 2018. With this representing almost a third of internet traffic, publishers can’t afford to ignore this group, especially when using a metering model to grow subscriptions.
Based on our conversations with dozens of publishers in recent months, a frequent complaint is that the commonly used metering technologies might not have the ability to understand who is running an ad blocker or have the flexibility to run multiple meters at once and move readers into the correct meter in real time.
3 Ways to Address Ad Blockers in Your Metering Model
The Bay Area News Group study, as well as a few of our past blog posts (here and here), inspired me to expand on the ad blocker topic. Specifically, when you’re running a metering model, how do you recognize and incentivize readers that block ads before they become subscribers? And how can a CDP help?
Option 1: Give ad blocking readers no views or a significantly lower view count in your meter
When you identify that a reader is blocking ads and has not yet hit your meter limit, then that reader really isn’t driving any revenue for you. As such, a fair approach would be to prevent them from viewing any articles at all with a meter set at either no views or one view.
Option 2: Keep the same limits, but change your ask
One of our favorite approaches to metering is a tiered approach, which can support multiple conversion moments in one program. Hearst Newspaper’s meter asks for a newsletter subscription at around 4 views and a paid subscription at around 8. Using a graduated meter, Hearst was able to drive 10x more newsletter starts than any other marketing program.
Publishers can use the same graduated meter and simply replace the subscription ask with a different kind of value exchange for the reader. For example, turning off an ad blocker to get more article views. This lets you get back some of the ad revenue you’re losing while keeping these readers engaged and trending toward a subscription.
Option 3: Give ad blocking readers more views, but offer specific products
This might seem counterintuitive at first, but hear us out. Nakashima noted that the ad blocking readers in his study tend to visit more often and read more content, but also unsubscribed at a higher rate. He interpreted this as a sign that ad blocker readers value user experience (UX) highly and that if you can give them a high quality reading experience with fast load times, low friction, and good content, they’ll subscribe. Conversely, if you give them a negative reading experience, they’ll abandon just as easily.
An expanded meter and targeted, UX friendly messaging throughout could win readers over and give you a high value subscriber.
Know Your Individual Readers. Drive More Revenue.
While there are a number of metering solutions on the market, most struggle to identify individual readers’ attributes, as well as the correct meter for each reader based on her specific attributes.
Enter the CDP. BlueConic’s ability to collect, unify, and activate reader and subscriber data enables publishers like Hearst, WEHCO Media, and National Geographic to deliver dynamic metering experiences to grow their subscription products.
Using BlueConic’s CDP to identify who is using ad blockers and then target them with a metering program that is specific to them, you can more effectively engage and monetize all readers – including that elusive 30%.