Google to launch global ad-blocker in July 2019

Google has announced that as of 9th July 2019, its inbuilt ad-blocking feature will be launched globally.

The ad blocker function is already operative in North America and Europe and works to filter out ads it deems to “repeatedly violate industry standards” and compromise the quality of user experience. The initiative comes from a set of standards called the Better Ads Standards, developed by an industry group called the Coalition for Better Ads, which works towards improving the experience of online advertising for the consumer. Taking responses from 66,000 users around the world, the Better Ads Standards have identified 12 different kinds of ads that are disruptive and unwelcome in the user experience such as pop-ups that block the view of the user, autoplay videos or warning users if a page has malware.

In addition to the ad blocking function, Google has terminated the selling of these types of ads on its own advertising platforms.

Does this mean all ads are going to be blocked?

The 12 kinds of ads this ad blocker aims to eliminate from our screens are those that are intrusive and annoying. This includes:

Desktop:

  • Pop up ads
  • Prestitial ads with countdown
  • Autoplay video ads with sound
  • Large sticky ads

Mobile:

  • Pop up ads
  • Prestitial ads
  • Autoplay video ads with sound
  • Postitial ads with countdown
  • Density > 30%
  • Flashing animated ads
  • Large sticky ads
  • Full screen rollover ads

This means that if you are an advertiser or publisher and you are running ads that fall into any of the above categories then you’ll need to remove them or you could face penalties. The Ad Experience Report is a helpful tool to help you review the status of your ads and whether Chrome has identified any intrusive ads on your website.

What does this mean for marketers?

For online marketers, an inbuilt ad-blocking system initially sounds like a damaging prospect. Google says that its ultimate goal is not to filter ads, although it does feel a bit like censorship. However, it could actually be a good thing. Firstly, Google Chrome will only block disruptive and intrusive ads from the 12 categories above, which means that if you’re a sincere advertiser and cooperative with Chrome’s advertising policies, then your ads won’t be blocked. The best way to check this before the feature rolls out globally is with the Ad Experience Report, which will review your advertising activity for you.

Secondly, Google Chrome having its own ad blocking function means that users will be less likely to download supplementary software that blocks all ads, including the genuine ones. This internal selection process should hopefully free up more space for legitimate advertisers once advertisers who have had their ads blocked realise their ads won’t be displayed, as well as make the online advertisement environment less hostile for users. Over time, this could improve the user perception of adverts that they see online as specifically tailored to their interests rather than aggressive blanket advertisements designed to disrupt their journey. Plus, as it stands Google has only filtered the ads on under 1% of websites on Chrome in the U.S, Canada and Europe where the feature is currently in use, which suggests that it isn’t planning a large-scale cull of ads. Until July, the best thing to do as a marketer is to review your advertising activity especially if you make use of formats like pop-ups and videos and ensure that you are compliant with Google Chrome’s guidelines.

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