Is Google Chrome’s Ad Blocker really a threat to publishers?
Publishers have always been concerned about ad blockers (or “ad filters”) because advertising is one of the major sources of their revenue. Over the years, they have been exploring new ways to provide maximum exposure to their advertisers, which in turn led them develop and adapt new ad-units, not always mindful of the convenience of end-consumers.
Back in 2017, Google announced an inbuilt ad blocker to its Chrome browser, a significant development to improve the online experience of readers by blocking ads that hamper their experience, even if they’re served through their own networks. The new ad-blocker is set to release on February 15th, 2018. In addition, Google has recently released a pop-up blocker in Chrome 64 for Windows, Mac and Linux, with more than 50 security fixes, which will enable users to mute reminder advertisements in applications and websites.
With multiple ad blocking tools already present in the market, and now Chrome’s new built-in blocker, competition has grown further. But the most important question of the hour is how publishers should tackle this problem.
How is Google Chrome’s Ad Blocker different?
Well, to answer this question we must remember that not all ads are ‘bad’ for Google. Chrome will now of course filter out the really obnoxious ones. It will target those that are considered intrusive to the user experience, as determined by the Coalition for Better Ads, including offender ads that are too pushy or which dramatically increase load times. The tool will target 12 types of ads – four desktop ads and eight mobile ads including pop-ups, full-screen ads with countdowns, sticky ads, auto-playing videos with sounds, ads occupying full screens and low-quality ads. Please click here just in case you want to see the complete list.
Google also mentioned that publishers will be blacklisted if they continuously serve non-compliant digital ads, and once blacklisted all their ads will be blocked on Chrome, which could be a major setback for them. However, Google has also released their Ad Experience Report tool for publishers to check if their websites are compliant with Better Ad Standards and identify the potential problems with their websites.
How should publishers and their advertisers react to this?
Today, we’re in the midst of tremendous change in the digital advertising industry. The threat of disappearing ad revenues from ad blocking continues to cause a lot of anxiety for publishers. Clearly, Chrome brings audiences on a vast scale to ad platforms. And, in most of the cases, online ads have created a bad consumer experience – from an annoyance perspective, a privacy perspective, and a usability perspective. One of the main reasons that the adoption rate of ad blockers is so high is that many users find much of the advertising they see as irrelevant and intrusive.
Understanding how to design digital ads that don’t get blocked will very soon become a cost of business. Publishers should encourage and support their advertisers to develop better strategies and make fewer but compliant ads as it will help in reaching the right audience with a better focus on advertising. The ad blocking furor has succeeded in making them scrutinize the quality of ads. One can do this by educating their advertisers about global standards, and only serve ad units that follow these standards.
Advertisers, in turn, should concentrate to only use globally accepted ad units and follow best practices to deliver seamless user experience. They also need to start asking questions to their publishers about Ad Density of the web pages where ads will be served and Ad Experience Reports, so that even publishers are forced to comply with the Better Ad Standards. Advertisers may also need to be proactive while booking inventories with publishers because fewer approved ad units may lead to more competition. They need to understand that delivering quality is rather more important than quantity.
A recent study by Google revealed that roughly 1% of publishers aren’t compliant with their ad blocking standards which means most of the publishers will not be affected by this tool. This news could be a relief for publishers, but it is important to understand that Google Chrome’s Ad-blocker is not really about ‘ad-blocking’ it’s about creating better ad experience for the target audience. It is trying to address not just annoying ads, but ads that are irrelevant and are not following industry standards. Every customer wants to see advertisements that really matters to them – Nothing more or less.