Google Chrome stops showing “disruptive” advertisements

Written by: Han
Blog
14 March, 2018

Read in: Nederlands

Recognisable? Your screen blocked by disrupting advertisements that make it unable to read the content of the initial page? Last summer Google announced it had plans to start acting towards these ‘disruptive’ advertisements. Now it is clear how they are planning to do so. Our CIO Han Rusman gives a short summary of the developments that might impact your business.

Adblockers harm advertisers

The goal of Google is clear, more and more people get so frustrated that they install Adblockers (browser extension which blocks advertisements) for all advertisements. This is damaging for people who create content, like journalists and video platforms who generate the majority of their profits from advertisements, argues Google. It also touches related eco-systems, advertisers and beneficiaries of advertising networks, like Google itself. So, to a certain degree, it is at their self interest as well.

Standard for better advertisements

Now, we know the how. Last June, Google joined the “Coalition for Better Ads” (CfBA). This group of primarily advertisers (For example: Microsoft, Facebook and NewsCorp) compelled a standard of undesirable advertisements. You can find the standard here. Google has implemented this new standard directly into Google Chrome, both on mobile and desktop. From now on, it is monitored which type of advertisement is displayed on which website. Whenever a website is indexed as “negative”, that is the website has violated the CfBA standard, it gets a 30 day window to improve itself. If the website is not improved after 30 days, all advertisements on all pages on that domain will be blocked in Google Chrome. Below you can find an example:Source: https://blog.chromium.org/2018/02/how-chromes-ad-filtering-works.html

Over the last couple of months Google has successfully performed multiple tests with this ad blocker. On February 12th this year, 42% of the website who did not meet the Better Ads standards solved this issue, and do meet the standards now. This happened before any of the sites were blocked.

The Better Ads standard provides clear examples of advertisements which are categorized as ‘undesirable’:

Mobile advertisements must be improved

Mobile advertisement often don’t meet the standards yet in the Netherlands. The website of Better Ads shows examples and an explanation for all ad types. Google does not spare themselves, it uses the EasyList filter to block advertisements whenever the page is categorized as “wrong”. This advertisement filter is managed by four independent individuals, which filters Google’s AdSense and Doubleclick as well on a regular basis.

Limited effect on career-sites

The impact on career-sites will probably be limited. Google indicates that user friendly pop-ups stay permitted. Besides, 99% of the publishers have little to fear. I see that the majority of the websites in our administration have not been scanned by Google. The websites that have been scanned, were checked in June last year for desktop and in last January for mobile. We do advise you to read this underlying research [https://www.betterads.org/research/] because it demonstrates what users experience as undesirable interaction. The research focuses on advertisements, but provides clear insights in interaction as well. Pop-ups that fill the entire screen, and interactions what move along your scrolling motion are perceived as undesirable, whether it is an advertisement or not. You can check the status of your own website here.

Impact on advertisement strategy

This development can have great impact on advertisement strategies. If you advertise, for example for your employer brand, we advice you to monitor the effects of these advertisements. It might be possible that some websites temporarily show a decrease in results. Google Chrome blocks on website-level, not on the level of advertisements. However, it can also happen that some advertisements suddenly perform better or worse because particular advertisements are not aloud anymore. The impact will not be gigantic in the beginning, but it is recommended to critically assess coming advertisements strategies.

Concluding, this development is a step in the right direction for the end user, and hopefully other browsers will join the new advertisement guidelines in the near future.