Incisive Media sees 40 percent drop in ad blocking after banning access
Publishers often wring their hands about how tough to get with ad blocking. U.K. business publisher Incisive Media decided late last year to block access to its tech publications The Inquirer and V3, both of which had ad-block use rates of over 20 percent. The result: Within 48 hours, the number of page impressions ad-blocked dropped by 40 percent.
Before the ban, which started in April, 30 percent of page impressions were being blocked on The Inquirer, and 20 percent on V3. During major product launches, like Apple’s iPhone 6S last September, organic search and social traffic normally spikes — and the number of page impressions affected by ad blockers hit 40 percent. The publisher has determined that any site which sees 20 percent of pages ad-blocked will have a ban.
“We agreed on 20 percent because that’s the point at which we start losing serious cash,” said Robin Shute, head of operations at Incisive Media.
The stakes are high. The publisher has estimated that if all its titles were to see 20 percent of impressions blocked, the average revenue loss to the business would be north of £100,000 ($146,000) a year. That estimate would be far lower if one looked at V3 and The Inquirer titles separately, because their ad revenue is more reliant on programmatic advertising, which commands lower yields. “For those titles, we estimate it would be around the £30,000 ($44,000) mark per site,” added Shute.
Those titles are likely also the only two to tip over that 20 percent threshold, as they’re in the publisher’s tech cluster. The group’s other brands, including financial titles Investments Week and Professional Pensions, see far lower ad-blocking rates, between 2 and 9 percent.
“Getting it working properly has been a bit of a case of catching a tiger by the tail. It’s fiddly, and with tech brands, people can often figure out a way to spoof it anyway,” said Shute.
But Incisive persevered. The current message running in each article is similar to that used by City AM, which was the first U.K. publisher to run a ban. It states politely the reasons why the site relies on advertising to survive and asks the user to disable the blocker. The content is blurred so no one can click through without disabling.
Shute said that The Inquirer will also get a ban, likely to roll out in June. The site, which has higher ad-blocker rates than V3 and also has the larger audience — 1.5 million pageviews in April, according to the publisher’s internal figures, compared to V3’s 700,000 — wasn’t first with the ban because its website redesign was set for a later rollout than V3’s, according to Shute.
Incisive Media has two arms: Incisive Business, which houses all its ad-funded titles, and Incisive Insights, home to its subscription-based titles. The publisher has toyed with the idea of introducing tiered subscriptions to its ad-funded titles, but given how saturated the technology title market is, subscriptions aren’t a viable alternative for those particular titles, according to Shute.
Cheat Sheet: At IAB Podcast Upfront, diverse voices take center stage while podcast advertising revenue and audiences boom
Most of the companies that presented at the IAB Podcast Upfront signaled they had or were going to add more diversity to their programming, both in hosts and content.
Member ExclusiveMedia Briefing: What media companies’ latest earnings reports say about the state of the industry
Media companies' Q1 earnings reports signaled a continued return to business as usual — for better or worse, depending on the company's digital business.
‘Brands tend to be selective’: OMG report offers options to media buyers facing upfront inventory crunch
With a tight upfront TV marketplace expected, one agency group is recommending alternatives in video and CTV.
SponsoredHow The Company Store is reimagining customer experiences for pandemic-era growth
Throughout the pandemic, some retail categories have been inherently successful. Home furnishings and décor are among them; with consumers spending so much more time at home, updates and renovations flourished. Criteo data from the first half of 2020 showed sales for items like outdoor furniture sets up 434% year over year, with other home items […]
‘You’re fixing a number, not changing the culture’: Confessions of a media exec on diversity quotas
In the rush to improve diversity rates, businesses are in danger of overlooking more fundamental ways to sustain inclusivity in the workplace, according to our latest Confessions interviewee.
‘Direct revenue driver’: How local broadcaster News 12 is partnering with Google to build a younger audience
Local broadcaster used support and funding from Google News Initiative to build a new tool that can automatically identify and feed video content into new website verticals.