What Ads Will Chrome Block?
Beginning on February 15, Google’s Chrome will block ads it deems unacceptable according to the Initial Better Ads Standards from the Coalition for Better Ads. The standards were developed by surveying 25,000 users from Europe and the United States about their ad preferences.
Research shows that there are acceptable, even welcome Internet ads. But many are intrusive. You cannot make someone buy your flashlight by beating them over the head with it. Interstitial ads, prestitial ads with countdowns, popups, and auto-playing video ads are in Google’s crosshairs.
The good news is Google will give publishers at least 30 days to clean up their act. On February 15, Google will begin reviewing samples of pages on websites in line with the Coalition’s guidelines. The bad news – Chrome will remove all ads from sites that have a “failing” status in the Ad Experience Report for more than 30 days.
Why is Google Doing This?
In short, Google’s cash cow is advertising. Better Ads Standards reveal the least preferred, most annoying ad experiences that are also most likely to cause consumers to adopt ad blockers.
“69% of people surveyed said that they were motivated to install ad blockers by annoying or intrusive ads.”
– Google survey ran globally, July 2016, Ad block users, n=1800
I don’t believe that Google is completely self-serving with this initiative. I would like to believe they are also trying to help make a better Internet. Not only do intrusive ads make for a poor web experience, but most of the free web content we take for granted is supported by advertising.
Like hundreds of thousands of other small publishers, I use pay per click (PPC) and affiliate ads here on The Practical Computer in an effort to try and recoup my expenses in running this website and for the time it takes to develop content.
Ad blockers take potential revenue away from publishers. I say potential revenue because there is no guarantee that an ad will be clicked, or that an affiliate ad will culminate in a sale. But there is a guarantee they won’t if they are blocked altogether.
Why You Should Care
Supporting small web publishers with effective advertising will help to ensure that free content will survive. Content consumers want a better Internet experience. If you are a publisher you want to give it to them, not only so they will click an ad or two, but because you want your content to be read. Otherwise, you are wasting time.
Since Chrome’s share of the browser market is around 57%, web publishers will have no choice but to fall in line if they want to advertise on the web. Websites with crummy user experience (UX) will take a hit to their search page rank too.
What Ads will be acceptable?
For a full list of acceptable ads, see Google’s new best practices guide.
How can I ensure ads on my website are acceptable?
Follow the best practices guide and use the Ad Experience Report. It is available to users and owners of website properties that are verified on Search Console. If you have ads with a bad experience rating, you will have 30 days to remove or replace them. Then you can submit those URLs for review.
Google says they will review only sample pages for ads. It will not be an exhaustive review of your website. From what I have read so far, it seems that one bad ad can cause Chrome to block ads on your entire website. You will want to begin paying close attention to the Ad Experience Report beginning February 15.
Google hasn’t begun reviewing yet, or at least they have not reviewed this website. Time will better tell how all this will work. So far, I have not seen a tool that will test individual ads against the standards. I am curious about how my interscroller ads will rate. I guess I will have to wait and see if they are flagged.
How will this affect your website? Will you still use an ad blocker or give Chrome a chance to see what it can do to clean up ads? Leave a comment and let us know what you think!