Publishers in Lithuania have found a way around ad blockers
Can you convince an internet user to turn off ad blockers? Yes! Lithuanian publisher 15min has found a way, and as a result of their efforts they have sliced the number of views made with ad blockers in three.
The method used by 15min has turned out to be effective, with the number of website views made using ad blockers falling from 500,000 to 130,000, according to the Wirtualnemedia.pl portal. They have also recorded a significant growth in users opting for subscriptions.
15min was previously using the known methods used by other publishers fighting ad blockers, but they failed to deliver the expected results. So to what do they owe their success? In collaboration with an interactive agency, 15min filmed 12 video clips. The main characters are journalists from the website, who ask users to stop blocking ads. Each clip features one journalist who appeals to internet users in his or her own words to turn off ad blockers, to add 15min to their white list, or to pay the monthly
subscription of EUR 1.
‘For quite a long time we played a soft game with people who use ad blockers, trying to show them some ads using different technical solutions. But since this has not been effective we have decided to take clear and tough action in fighting ad blockers. We don't want to allow our content to be read anymore by readers who choose not to see ads. Ads are our only revenue source and it is not a fair deal if they block them. So we made appealing explanatory videos, with our journalists talking to their audience. We believe this action made readers with ad blocking software less angry, and most of them whitelisted our site, while others bought an ads-free subscription to 15min. We believe all online news sites around the world should unite against ad blocking and solve this issue in clear and strict manner,’ says Tomas Balžekas, CEO of 15min.
‘The videos only show up on the portal for those internet users who are using ad blockers. The publishers wanted to reference the emotional bond between the journalist in front of the camera and the recipient of the appeal, which is why the films were only minimally directed’, explains Gemius expert Radosław Gołąb.
As Wirtualnemedia.pl has highlighted, around 20 per cent of Lithuanian internet users block adverts online.
‘Ad blocking is a mass phenomenon. Nearly 420 million internet users worldwide block ads on their smartphones and tablets, and 200 million on computers. Technical solutions counteracting ad blockers, not limited solely to blocking content, should be accompanied by education for internet users. The situation can only be improved once these operations come together. So far, publishers have mainly used three ways to fight ad blocking: blocking access to content for users who block ads, enabling a paid subscription service, or requesting ad blockers be disabled on their websites’, adds Gołąb.