Google has officially launched its new Chrome ad blocker, which is designed to combat intrusive ads. While early speculation has some publishers concerned over how this will impact their revenue streams, it would seem that the majority of publishers won’t be affected if they take the right steps.
Why Changes Needed to Happen
Last June, Google audited publisher advertisements on over one-hundred thousand websites in North America and Europe to ensure they were compliant with third-party industry standards. This was also done to provide publishers with a clear idea on what ads are considered bad so that action can be taken to rectify. Of the 100,000 audited, only 0.5% of websites were classified under “warning” levels, whereas 0.9% were at the “failing level”. Since the flagging has begun, 37% of the websites that were previously in violation have fixed their issues.
Determining What’s at Risk
The new Chrome ad blocker, which rolled out on February 15th, was developed in collaboration with the Coalition for Better Ads. It automatically blocks any ads (on either mobile or desktop) that are deemed to be too invasive. Auto-play videos with sound, pop-ups, full-page ads, ads with countdown timers and many more are all at risk of being flagged. If a website infringes on the new standards, it will be issued a 30-day notice to remove the offensive ads without any penalty. Failure to do this however will result in Google blocking the ads entirely.
Avoiding Ad Blocker Misunderstandings
For publishers who may be feeling a little nervous about the big change, there’s no reason to panic. Google has established a criteria to help mitigate any damage. First and foremost, one bad ad won’t lead to a notice being given. Rather, a 7.5% compliance threshold has been set for publishers before their ad gets blocked. As publishers work to comply with the advertising standards, that threshold drops down to 2.5%. Ads are also weighed by page views, meaning it's much worse than if a user comes across ads on every page of a website instead of just a select few.
For a complete list of misconceptions, have a look at the exclusive report by Axios.
As Scott Spencer, director of product management for sustainable advertising at Google puts it, “We make money on search and good user experiences, if web experiences are annoying experiences, people will not want to search the web." This shakeup in the digital advertising economy could result in significant changes – one of which being the need for users to use an ad blocker at all. If websites strive to meet the CBA standards, which Google seems to have gone out of their way to prep them for, this could actually be a large benefit for publishers and media buyers who have struggled to penetrate ad-blocker enthusiasts.