- Google is planning to roll out native ad block technology in its Chrome browser next year, and in advance of that update it has reviewed around 10,000 websites for poor ad user experiences identifying about 700 as either failing or needing a warning, split about evenly between the two categories, and requiring corrective action, per Digiday.
- A number of mainstream websites were flagged by Google, including: Forbes; Tronc-owned publications like Orlando Sentinel, Sun-Sentinel and Los Angeles Times; Bauer Xcel Media’s Life & Style and In Touch Weekly; The Wrap; Chicago Sun-Times; Tribune Broadcasting’s Fox 13 Now; Sporting News; Kiplinger; Gizmodo Media Group’s Lifehacker; The Jerusalem Post; The San Diego Union-Tribune; Cox Media Group’s WSB-TV in Atlanta; The Christian Science Monitor; the U.K. Independent; Reader’s Digest; All You; Smithsonian; New York Daily News; Salt Lake Tribune, and CBS News, as reported by Digiday.
- Most of the sites needing corrective action ware more obscure such as checkthesevideos.com and full-serie.biz. The most common problem found across sites was pop-ups, accounting for 96% of violations on desktop and 54% on mobile.
The fact that so many mainstream publications are on Google's list of websites with bad ad experiences points to just how widespread the use of pop-ups and other intrusive ad experiences still is despite the fact that the warning signs have been there for several years as use of ad blocking technology has grown. Publishers are struggling to monetize their digital content and, as a result, may be reluctant to walk away from pop-ups. However, Google's plans to bring ad blocking technology to Chrome is just the latest signal that players across the digital marketing ecosystem are taking the need for quality ad experiences more seriously. Forward-thinking publishers will move sooner rather than later to seek out content strategies that meet the needs of both consumers and advertisers.
Publishers are still wary about how Google will implement Chrome’s ad blocking capabilities, mostly because Google hasn’t clearly defined what enforcement will look like. For one, it hasn’t ruled out filtering all the ads on offending websites instead of only blocking ads that don’t meet the standard. It also hasn’t outlined what would cause a failing grade, but has said a warning would go out to sites with two or more violations but those sites wouldn’t be blocked. Sites getting a failing rating would have 30 days to fix the issues before having ads blocked.
One thing publishers can turn to when performing a self-assessment for their website ad experience is the knowledge that Google is using the Better Ads Standards released by the Coalition for Better Ads released in March which outlines six desktop and 12 mobile ad experiences deemed unacceptable.