In recent months, Google has targeted “intrusive ads” that result in bad user experiences and lead to aggressive blocking of all advertising. Chrome’s ad blocker launched in February to help mitigate this problem, but another Google initiative called “Funding Choices” is seeing a wider launch and more features in the coming weeks.
Launched last year, Funding Choices are essentially PSAs that inform users of ad blockers about the consequences of their actions. Google argues that “many of these people don’t intend to defund the sites they love when they install an ad blocker.”
Still in beta, Funding Choices works by allowing sites to display a custom message that explains how “ad blocking impacts their business and content.” Publishers also get access to tools that identify visitors with blocking software and statistics about how effective their messaging is.
There are three available prompts that range from just alerting the user to not allowing viewers with ad blockers to read content. A middle option limits the number of pages that can be read a month.
- A dismissible message that doesn’t restrict access to content
- A dismissible message that counts and limits the number of page views that person is allowed per month, as determined by the site owner, before the content is blocked.
- A message that blocks access to content until the visitor chooses to allow ads on the site, or to pay to access the content with either the site’s proprietary subscription service or a pass that removes all ads on that site through Google Contributor.
The results are promising with Google noting that “millions of ad blocking users every month are now choosing to see ads on publisher websites, or “whitelisting” that site, after seeing a Funding Choices message.”
On average, publishers using Funding Choices are seeing 16 percent of visitors allow ads on their sites with some seeing rates as high as 37 percent.
In the last month alone, “over 4.5 million visitors who were asked to allow ads said yes, creating over 90 million additional paying page views for those sites.”
Following initial availability in Australia, Germany, Great Britain, New Zealand, and the United States last year, it is expanding to 31 additional countries over the coming weeks. Meanwhile, Google is testing letting publishers use their own subscription service — instead of the Google alternative — on the Funding Choices prompt.
Another aspect of the Google News Initiative offers to handle subscription payments and user sign-ins for publishers.