• March 1, 2018
  • By Leonard Klie, Editor, CRM magazine and SmartCustomerService.com

Google Starts Blocking Intrusive Ads

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Google was due to start blocking some ads on mobile and desktop websites accessed via its Chrome web browser on Feb. 15. 

The internet giant will not be blocking all ads, just those that are found to be overly annoying and intrusive, specifically, those that violate standards set forth in early 2017 by the Coalition for Better Ads. Based on those standards, Google has said that pop-up ads; ads with full-page interstitials; ads that unexpectedly play video, sound, or animation; flashing ads; ads with countdowns; and large sticky ads can be blocked by Google Chrome. 

To help advertisers navigate the ad landscape, Google will provide violators with an Ad Experience Report, complete with screenshots and videos of the offending ads. Chrome will remove all ads from sites that have a “failing” status in the Ad Experience Report for more than 30 days. 

The Coalition for Better Ads reportedly surveyed 25,000 internet users in North America and Europe prior to drafting the standards. Google is a member of the coalition, along with several other tech giants, including Facebook and Microsoft.

“Advertising is a critical component of the web, keeping content open and free for everyone. However, over the years, we’ve increasingly heard from users that while some types of advertising are fine, others can seem overwhelmingly frustrating or intrusive. Due to these poor ad experiences, the usage of extensions that block ads across the web continues to rise, up about 30 percent from just last year. This reduces the ability for publishers to continue creating free content and threatens the sustainability of the web ecosystem,” wrote Rahul Roy-Chowdhury, vice president of product management at Google, in a blog post.

But Google was quick to point out that a single ad violating the coalition’s standards isn’t enough for it to give an ad publisher a failing grade. Google is following the coalition’s thresholds, which are based on the frequency with which ads that do not comply with the standards are displayed. Those thresholds are set at 7.5 percent of page views assessed for the first two months of the program, and then drop to 5 percent for four months after that and to 2.5 percent in all months thereafter.

The good news for advertisers is that the ad blocking does not constitute a permanent ban. Developers can use the Ad Experience Report to resubmit their sites for review once the violations have been addressed.

“We believe these changes will ensure all content creators, big and small, can continue to have a sustainable way to fund their work with online advertising,” wrote Sridhar Ramaswamy, senior vice president of ads and commerce at Google, in another blog post. 

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