Have you ever been scrolling through a website and suddenly your view is blocked by a huge advert? Even worse, have you ever been forced to watch at least 10 seconds of said advert before it’ll show you the website you wanted to visit?
If you have found yourself irritated by these intrusive adverts, you’ll be pleased to know that Google Chrome recently launched a built-in ad blocker feature. However, by Google’s own admission, this is more of a ‘filter’ rather than a complete blocker, as adverts that comply with the Better Ads Standards will be able to continue advertising.
If you do advertise your business on the web, this may strike a little fear into your heart. However, this ad blocker is designed to only stop the most annoying adverts which aim to distract users from the website with hard to click exit buttons and other un-user-friendly experiences.
Website operators were given a few months prior to the Chrome ad blocker launch to comply with the new rules and have been given 30 days after the release to conform. If they do not, Google will block both publishers and websites which display annoying adverts from all advertising.
So, what type adverts does the Chrome Ad Blocker stop?
Google is working by the standards set by the Coalition for Better Ads which has identified through testing the ‘ad experiences that fall beneath a threshold of consumer acceptability’.
On desktop, these include:
- Pop-up Ads – these adverts pop up as you scroll down a webpage and block user’s view of the content.
- Auto-playing Video Adverts with Sound – this type of advert starts playing with sound without any sort of interaction.
- Prestitial Ads with a Countdown - appearing before the page has fully loaded, these adverts force a user to wait a set amount of time before they can close the advert.
- Large Sticky Ads – these adverts stick to the bottom of a webpage, taking up 30% or more of the screen.
On a mobile, the blocked adverts include:
- Pop-up Ads – these adverts are the same as the desktop version and block part or the entire screen.
- Prestitial Ads – showing before the content has fully loaded, these adverts stop users reaching the content they’re looking for right away.
- Adverts with a Density Higher than 30% - if an advert is larger than 30%, it will be blocked by the ad blocker.
- Flashing Animated Ads – this type of advert animates or flashes in an attempt to distract users from the content on the page.
- Auto-playing Video Ads with Sound – same as the desktop version, any advert that auto-plays sound without a user’s interaction will be blocked.
- Postitial Ads with Countdown – this intrusive format forces a user to wait a number of seconds before they can see the content on the page.
- Full Screen Scroll over Ads – this advert type hovers on top of the pages main content and hides it from view. They often take up more than 30% of the page and force a user to scroll past it.
- Large Sticky Ads – this advert also blocks the user's view of the page's content and takes up more than 30% of the pages real estate.
You can read more about each of these advert types in the Coalition for Better Ads Standards.
Why was the Chrome Ad Blocker introduced?
So, you may be wondering how blocking adverts could benefit a company who received an eye-watering £95.4 billion US dollars in advertising revenue last year.
Vice President of Google Chrome, Rahul Roy-Chowdhury, said in his recent blog that Google has ‘seen more and more people express their discontent with annoying ads by installing ad blockers, but blocking all ads can hurt sites or advertisers who aren’t doing anything disruptive.’
In simple terms, Google does not want users downloading third-party software to block the adverts. They believe providing a better user experience is more important than losing money from these intrusive ad formats.
However, as one of the tech superpowers of the world, it’s highly unlikely Google introduced the Chrome ad blocker without their best interest at heart.
As hundreds of thousands of people have installed ad blockers over the years which block all adverts, not just the irritating ones, Google’s introduction of their own ad blocker could actually benefit advertisers.
If users feel less inclined to install an ad blocker because Chrome is already sifting away the most irritating ones, more people will see the advertisers who actually fulfil the advertising standards. The companies who rely on ads to make money may also benefit from this update, as their revenue will not be annihilated by the growth of third-party ad blockers which block all of their adverts.
If Google has control over which adverts are blocked online, both advertisers and Google may stand to benefit from this change.
Adblock, the most popular third-party advert blocking tool, actively blocks all adverts on the web. However, Adblock still allows ‘whitelisted’ adverts, which publishers have to pay to use. Unsurprisingly, Google is one of those publishers who choose to pay a fee which allows their adverts to surpass the block. This fee could be part of the reason Google introduced this update, alongside their ambition to make the web more user-friendly.
Furthermore, the whitelisted format Adblock uses could potentially be part of Google’s long-term plan with this update. If a website or publisher is blocked from advertising entirely due to one bad advert, would there be a type of ‘whitelist’ feature introduced to allow them to advertise again? Only time will tell if Google plans to introduce a feature like this.
Will the Chrome Ad Blocker affect me?
If your website does not advertise or display adverts in the aforementioned formats, you will be unaffected by this update. Websites which only use the acceptable standards of advertising may even find they benefit from this update as their adverts are more likely to be seen.
However, if you use the Display Network for prospecting or remarketing purposes, you may find some of your adverts could be blocked due to where they are placed. For example, if your adverts usually display on a website which Google decides shows too many annoying adverts via Adsense, your ads may be blocked on this website.
Alternatively, if you let publishers advertise on your website, you may want to check they comply with the Better Ads Standards. Google has introduced a way you can check on the new and updated search console, called the ‘Ad Experience Report’.
You can access your Ad Experience Report here to find out if your website displays any adverts users deem annoying. If your website does not pass this test, you have 30 days to sort out any non-compliant advertising and you can request a re-review.
Here’s a video from Google to help you use the Ad Experience Report.
With the introduction of the Chrome ad blocker, it’s more important than ever to ensure your advertising is done right. Our experienced PPC team specialises in this subject and will ensure your adverts comply with the standards. Find out more about how our PPC team can help you here.