On February 15, 2018, Google launched its own ad blocker for their Chrome browser, which blocks “annoying“ or “intrusive“ advertising by default. Since, ads from publishers that have repeatedly delivered offensive ad formats are filtered out by Chrome.
The ad blocker was announced by Google last June. In December, along with the actual launch date, Google released more specific requirements and additional guidelines for advertisers and publishers.
This article summarizes the requirements as well as the background and effects of this new restriction on publishers, advertisers and users.
WHAT IS THE CHROME AD BLOCKER?
The Chrome ad blocker or ad filter is Google's answer to the ever-increasing use of ad blockers on the Internet in order to create a better ad experience for users. The goal is to filter out intrusive advertising while still maintaining an advertising-driven environment.
The feature should be seen as a filter rather than an ad blocker, as it does not block every ad, but only those on websites that provide a bad ad experience overall. The feature is thus not identical to known conventional ad blockers.
On desktop devices, Chrome is automatically updated so that the filter is applied by default, without a conscious action of the user. On mobile devices, the app must be updated manually.
With the new feature, Google has kept its promise to block "disruptive" advertising that does not meet the requirements of the Coalition for Better Ads.
HOW DOES GOOGLE EVALUATE ADS?
To rate a website, Chrome randomly analyzes a sample of this site and draws conclusions from this. The sample is evaluated by Google based on the proportion of ads that do not comply with the Better Ads Standards.
Whether a particular site has "passed" or "failed" Google’s evaluation, is announced to publishers in an ad experience report in their Google Search console. After the notification of the violation, the site owner has 30 days to fix the non-compliant ad experience. If they fail to do so, Chrome will block ads on this website.
Desktop and mobile experiences are evaluated independently from each other and hence, ads are only blocked for the respective device type.
If at least one ad has been blocked, users will see a message notifying them that ads have been blocked on this website and they have the option to allow ads on this site anyway.
WHAT ARE THE CRITERIA FOR THE EVALUATION?
Based on extensive surveys, the Coalition for Better Ads has developed standards for desktop and mobile networks. The survey identified ads that consumers perceive as "particularly disturbing" and which are therefore increasingly responsible for the use of ad blockers. In particular, the coalition has identified 4 types of desktop ads and 8 types of mobile ads.
These ads include among others pop-ups, autoplay videos with sound, flashing displays or excessive display density.
WHY IS GOOGLE DOING THIS?
Chrome’s ad filter is designed to help advertisers and publishers maintain an advertising-driven online environment while encouraging them to eliminate negative consumer ad experiences. The ad filter aims to improve the customer experience with a website or brand and effectively prevent users from blocking all ads entirely. Google’s long-term hope, in cooperation with the remaining Coalition for Better Ads, is that users will deploy fewer ad blockers again if advertising does not interfere with the use of a website.
HOW DOES THE AD FILTER AFFECT MARKETING?
Advertisers are forced to create better ad experiences
A less overloaded ad environment is created while negative experiences are blocked. This forces the entire industry to develop and enforce standards for acceptable ad experiences.
Influencer Marketing becomes increasingly more important
While ads become less visible, other forms of advertising become more relevant, including influencer marketing. Firstly, because influencer marketing is one of the best ways to avoid ad blockers and secondly, to interact with potential customers by sending them news about products and service recommendations from trusted people.
Improvement of ROI figures
Advertisers want to pay solely for ads that perform successfully. Intrusive or irrelevant ads usually don’t perform that well at all. Advertisers and publishers therefore get an incentive to focus on high-quality experiences to reach the best audience with relevant content.
Moving to customer-centric, branded content Users are exposed to a massive number of ads these days and are trained well to mostly disregard them. In the long run, advertisement needs to be more customer-centric and contain relevant messages which exactly address the interests and needs of the customers.
Advertising must become more relevant. Future ads should be limited to essential content that is tailored to the respective target groups. This allows advertisers to be certain that only high-performing ads reach their potential customers, saving valuable budgets. Advertisers that place high-quality advertising and know and understand their audiences, are already in line with the Coalition for Better Ads requirements and are unlikely to experience any negative consequences from Chrome’s new ad filter.