Recently, Google shared its latest plans for advancing digital advertising and the culture around it. Let’s look at what’s coming up and how the industry feels about it.
Google Says It’s All About User Experience
The ad blocker, which Google calls a “filter,” won’t keep all ads from appearing on websites in Chrome. Instead, it will concentrate on blocking those ads the tool deems negative when it comes to users’ advertising experience. Google likens it to existing Chrome features that block pop-ups and offer malware warnings.
To help publishers prepare their sites for the coming ad blocker, Google offers a tool called the Ad Experience Report API. The tool keeps a list of sites featuring ads violating the Coalition for Better Ads Better Ads Standards, and provides guidance on how to fix the issue.
The Coalition for Better Ads aims to improve consumers’ experiences with online advertising, and uses industry expertise and consumer insights to improve global advertising standards. The Better Ads Standards is a list shaped by consumer insights and empirical data, and includes low-ranking desktop and mobile experiences correlated with the use of ad blockers:
Low-ranking desktop experiences:
- Pop-up ads
- Auto-playing video ads with sound
- Prestitial ads with countdown (ads that appear before content loads and make users wait a number of seconds before allowing ad dismissal)
- Large sticky ads (static ads that “stick” to the bottom of a page and cover content no matter how far a user scrolls)
Low-ranking mobile experiences:
- Pop-up ads
- Prestitial ads (pop-ups or standalone pages that load before desired content and block users from seeing what they want)
- Ad density higher than 30 percent (when advertisements take up more than 30 percent of the main content’s display area)
- Flashing animated ads
- Auto-playing video ads with sound
- Postitial ads with countdown (ads that appear when a user follows a link and make users wait a number of seconds before allowing ad dismissal or redirecting to another page)
- Full-screen scrollover ads
- Large sticky ads
Publisher reactions to Google’s upcoming ad blocker are divided. Some are concerned about the blocking of advertisements that bring in significant portions of their revenue. However, others see the move as a welcome solution to the ads that annoy their visitors and drive users to implement tools that block all ads.
Obviously, Google itself relies on advertising, and some may see the use of a default ad blocker as counterintuitive. Yet, perhaps the effort is meant to combat the increasingly popular employment of other ad blockers, and regain some control over what ads get blocked within Chrome.
Going a step further, Google is pushing a tool called Funding Choices which publishers can enable on their sites. Users who visit these sites with enabled ad blockers would be prompted to either disable their ad blockers or pay to remove all advertisements.
According to predictions from eMarketer, ad block use in the United States will grow 24 percent in 2017. It’s expected that 32 percent of internet users will employ ad blockers.
Responses to Google’s New Features
In a separate article, the Wall Street Journal discusses the response from major ad blocking software providers. Some are certainly concerned Google’s ad blocker will cut into their promotion of more extensive products.
On the other hand, some ad blocking software developers see Google’s actions as a validation of the ad blocking business, and a non-threat as it doesn’t go as far as most ad blocking products.
Intercept looks at things from another angle. Is Google implementing an ad blocker to squash ad competition? Since Google holds onto more than 40 percent of digital ad revenues, could it easily weed out competing advertisements with its ad blocker?
Inc. highlights the importance of Funding Choices, the feature that allows publishers to “show a customized message to visitors using an ad blocker, inviting them to either enable ads on their site, or pay for a pass that removes all ads on that site through the new Google Contributor.” Inc. calls Funding Choices the biggest part of Google’s fight against ad blocking.
Work to Keep Your Ads Visible
Most advertisers won’t be able to do much in the face of Google’s moves to compete in and dominate the ad blocking and advertising space. The best strategy is to create quality ads that won’t be targeted for blocking.
According to research from Hubspot, some prevailing opinions on digital ads are:
- Users have a strong dislike for pop-up ads and ads on mobile devices.
- Online ads have become more common and more intrusive in recent years.
- Forty percent of people click on ads that happened to interest them, but 34 percent click on ads by mistake.
- Annoying and intrusive ads, and those that disrupt what users are doing, are the main reasons for ad blockers.
- Eighty-three percent of users (an average across age groups) would block all ads on their mobile devices if they could.
- Search ads are most valued, followed by social media ads, video ads and finally display ads.
- Users justify ad blocker use by saying they want convenience as well as control over their own internet experience
With all this in mind, strive to create ads and campaigns that cater to the desired advertising experience. Work to be non-disruptive, relevant and honest in all campaigns, and you’ll be more likely to successfully jump through Google’s latest hoops.