Falk Study Plugs Its Pop-Up Workaround

An ad serving tool that circumvents pop-up blockers increased impressions delivered by 50 percent in campaigns using the hated format, a report conducted by the tool’s purveyor, Falk AG, found. However, Falk execs expect the technology to do nothing to slow the pop-up’s decline.

Falk’s “Guaranteed Pop” feature works by converting the creative in blocked ads to a different format, typically a floating ad.

“We tried to eliminate creative as a variable,” said Joe Apprendi, Falk North America’s CEO. “It’s an identical image, playing in a layer with a close button, versus a popup window. Creatively, it’s identical.” Falk launched the feature earlier this year.

The study is based on campaign results reported by Falk client Infinite-Ads, a publisher network. Infinite-Ads said Falk’s “Guaranteed Pop” feature increased the impressions from its pop-up campaigns by 50 percent. Those impressions had dropped dramatically since Microsoft released its Service Pack 2 update, which added a pop-up blocker to Internet Explorer.

“After implementing Falk’s ‘Guaranteed Pop’ technology, our impressions climbed even higher than they were prior to SP2’s release,” said Chris Telford, CTO of Infinite-Ads.

So while Falk eSolutions is pushing its “Guaranteed Pop” as a way to recover lost pop-up impressions, the tool won’t increase the number of pop-ups being served. Indeed, Apprendi sees no end to the erosion of these ads due to the proliferation of blockers. Rather, he hopes the feature will build demand for the company’s rich media services, as publishers are forced to wean themselves from pop-ups due to ever-diminishing impressions.

“If it turns out to be a bridge to rich media and alternative formats, we will be happy to provide that,” he said.

Despite the rise in pop-up blocking tools, pop-ups are still the most hated ad format, according a 2004 survey from Jakob Nielsen. It’s not in Falk’s interest to defend the pop-up, Apprendi said, but to place more control back into the hands of the company’s publisher clients.

“It’s decreasing publishers’ ability to communicate, period. It’s not just the ads. It’s the surveys; it’s the offers. This tool gives them a way to at least start talking to these customers.”

Last month, Falk was the unwitting agent of a new sort of virus attack. Hackers used its ad servers to distribute a virus to visitors of its publishers clients’ Web sites. Apprendi said that incident was unrelated to its “Guaranteed Pop” technology. However, he acknowledges a great animosity toward the format, which could result in a direct attack by fanatical hackers. He declined to speculate further.

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