Google’s Chrome will now block all ads on sites that don’t adhere to the ad quality standards set by the Coalition for Better Ads, an industry group that counts Google, Facebook, P&G, the Interactive Advertising Bureau, and the Association of National Advertisers among its members.
Google surveyed more than 25,000 consumers in Europe and North America on dozens of ad formats and ranked them by how “annoying” they found each one. They tested 55 desktop ad formats and 49 mobile formats and presented the findings to the group. Ultimately, the coalition defined 12 ad experiences that will trip the blocker across desktop and mobile, including pop-up ads, autoplay video with sound, prestitial ads with and without countdown clocks, large sticky ads, full-screen scroll-overs and flashing animated ads. Also, full-page ad interstitials, ads that unexpectedly play sound, and flashing ads.
The ad-blocker weighs ads by page views, so if you have a pop-up ad every time someone visits a page, it’s considered much worse than if you use them sparingly. House ads, or promotional ads, are not included in the ad-blocker.
Offending sites will even have non-intrusive ads blocked. There are two reasons for that, said Ryan Schoen, a Chrome product manager. “For one, on a technical level, it would be very difficult to surgically remove specific ads, because one ad script or provider is often responsible for multiple ads on a site.” “Secondly, certain experiences in the standard aren’t specific to a single ad creative or placement, but rather a combination of ads above a certain density.”
Publishers won’t be punished for one bad ad. Instead, publishers have a 7.5% non-compliance threshold before their ads are blocked. Eventually that threshold will move down to 2.5% as publishers work to comply with the standards.
In early February, Google said that just 1% of publishers are not compliant, based on an audit of more than 100,000 sites across North America and Europe. Google also noted that 42% of sites that were in violation (923 failures and 345 at the warning level) fixed their ad issues by February 12.
Stephan Loerke, CEO of the World Federation of Advertisers welcomed Google’s move as he noted how consumers have become increasingly distrustful of the way digital advertising operates. “Delivering a better user experience is an essential part of rebuilding the trust in online advertising,” he stated.
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