Google rolls out Funding Choices, giving publishers tools to combat ad blocking

Google is expanding its tools for publishers to deal with ad-block users as well as starting a test that allows publishers to use their own proprietary subscription services.

The ad blocking tool, launched a year ago in the U.S and a few other territories, is expanding to 31 other countries in Europe and Canada, Google announced yesterday. Called Funding Choices, the tool works by asking or requiring users to turn off their ad blockers after seeing a given number of articles.

Publishers can serve a dismissible message; serve a message that requires ad blocker users to pay after viewing a certain number of articles; or block their access until they turn off their ad blocker or pay for an ad-free experience through another program called Google Contributor. Google takes a 10 percent fee when publishers collect revenue through Contributor.

More than 100 publishers in the U.S. and Europe are curently using Funding Choices, including Popular Mechanics and Business Insider UK.

In the same blog post, Google announced it is also allowing publishers to use their own proprietary subscription services as part of a wider test.

Although Funding Choices is still in beta, 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. 

Indeed, according to Google, in the last month over 4.5 million visitors who were asked to allow ads said yes, creating over 90 million additional paying page views for those sites. On average, Google says publishers using Funding Choices are seeing 16 percent of visitors allow ads on their sites with some seeing rates as high as 37 percent.

Not everyone is happy though, with Android Police last year ending its support of Contributor 2.0 and Funding Choices because it’s a ‘huge mess and bad for our readers’. It remains to be seen whether the glitches identified have been ironed out.

Varun Chirravari, Product Manager at Google writes, ‘Ad blockers designed to remove all ads from all sites are making it difficult for publishers with good ad experiences to maintain sustainable businesses. Our goal for Funding Choices is to help publishers get paid for their work by reducing the impact of ad blocking on them, and we look forward to continuing to expand the product availability.’

Further reading:

Google Blog: Helping publishers recover lost revenue from adblocking (April 2018)

Google Support: Funding Choices Components and Availability (April 2018)

Digiday: Google expands its tool for publishers to combat ad blocking (April 2018)