Sourcepoint Arms Publishers With Tech To Message Ad-Blocking Users

choice-for-ad-blockersSourcepoint, a company founded last year to provide publishers with an antidote to ad blocking, has made its first major product release since raising a $10 million Series A round in June.

The product, Dialogue, allows publishers to deliver a message to users with ad blockers installed and then test the efficacy of those messages.

Dennis Publishing in the United Kingdom started using the product a month ago. The publisher of sites like The Week, CarBuyer and ITPro is sending three different messages to cohorts of ad-blocking users, said Nick Flood, head of product.

The company can, for example, ask them to opt into ads through whitelisting or ad reinsertion, sign up for a newsletter or deny content to users with ad blockers. It will be able to add up to 10 different messages to users.

Since Dennis Publishing’s ad-blocking rate stands at 13%, it wanted to take action.

“The content we produce, like test-driving cars and producing videos, costs a fortune. There needs to be a value exchange,” Flood said.

Because Dennis Publishing owns 20 different websites, Flood appreciates that Dialogue lets it target messages according to publisher, as well as within a single publisher’s audience. Dennis can send one message to someone from one country and another to someone coming from search or social media, for example. Or it might request an email address for a B2B website’s audience.

What may be most difficult for Sourcepoint and companies like it (PageFair and Secret Media among them) isn’t composing the different messages, but delivering them. Ad blockers may seek ways to suppress its messaging, a natural next step in what has become an arms race between publishers and ad block users. (See Facebook’s recent back and forth with Adblock Plus.)

“Once we were sure we could keep that message up, and that it was resilient under any circumstances to have that conversation, we created a platform where publishers can expose messages to users and test them,” said CEO Ben Barokas.

Dennis Publishing, which is one month into the test, expects to expand its messaging to ad-blocking visitors over the next few months, Flood said. By early next year, “we will have solid data to go on which will undoubtedly steer our strategy,” he said.

According to Sourcepoint COO Brian Kane, a US publisher that’s further along in tests saw its ad-blocking rates decline by 5% after it added a soft message encouraging a whitelist.

Unlike other ad-blocking companies, Sourcepoint doesn’t focus solely on ad recovery or ad reinsertion. Barokas called those technologies “one-trick ponies that are, in my view, very shortsighted solutions.”

Avoiding ad reinsertion without consent puts Sourcepoint’s tech on the right side of GroupM, which has said it would not pay for ads forcibly served to ad-blocking users – although the agency made an exception for Facebook since it’s offering consumers ad preferences in other ways.

As Sourcepoint expands its tech offerings, it may offer publishers the ability to message non-ad-blocking users about different ways to view content – such as offering the opportunity to pay a fee for an ad-free experience.

“In addition to messaging, the key attribute we deliver is choice,” Kane said.

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