Google Strikes Another Blow to Intrusive Ads: Here’s What You Need to Know

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We all know those moments when we stumble upon what looks like a golden piece of content. And just as youare about to dive in — an ad appears.

You canat only close it, either. Before you can get to what you visited that site to watch, you have to wait, as a countdown clock on the corner of the ad taunts you with, aClose this ad in 5 a | 4 a | 3 a | a

At this phase, does anyone else simply make the abacka button with an angry grumbling of, aNevermind, Iall read something elsea? Thatas because ads like these tarnish your online experience. They keep you from getting to the content you want to see. Theyare intrusive. Google knows that — and now, it wants to prevent that from happening to Chrome users.

Last Monday, Google announced that it would further crack down on websites that feature intrusive ads like these. And while that might audio great for many, what does it mean for content inventors who rely on ad revenue? Donat panic — youare not doomed.

Below, weave broken down what marketers need to know about these new guidelines( spoiler alert: Google isnat doing away with ads wholly ), and what you can do to prepare for their rollout.

What’s New in Google Ad Blocking

A Better User Experience Without Revenue Loss

To repeat our earlier spoiler, itas not Googleas intent to do away with ads totally. Rather, the goal appears to be for webmasters to move away from digital ads that interrupt a useras content intake — but not to lose critical ad revenue in the process.

The problem with intrusive ads, writes Google SVP of Ads& Commerce Sridhar Ramaswamy in the official proclamation, is that they motivate users to install browser plugins that block ads altogether. And ultimately, that widespread blockage takes aa big toll on the content inventors, journalists, web developers, and videographers who depend on ads to fund their content creation.a

Given Googleas algorithmic history, this announcement doesnat exactly come as a surprise. Itas penalized sites with heavy above-the-fold ad content since 2012, and last year, it announced that mobile sites with intrusive pop-ups wouldnat rank as well — both among consistent changes that, at least on the surface, appear to be motivated by an endless quest to improve user experience.

This particular move is largely the result of Googleas partnership with the Coalition for Better Ads, which recently developed Better Ads Standards — it appears that those standards serve as the foundation for Googleas new ad recommendations to content inventors. Once publishers modify their ads to meet the new standards, they can then use Googleas Ad Experience Report to test if theyare in violation of the new standards.

The Penalty

But itas not entirely clear how, in a broader sense, what the penalty will be for those in violation. The official proclamation stimulates no mention of search ranking implications, though given the search engineas history within this realm, we wouldnat be surprised if websites in violation perform as well in search results.

What was clear in the proclamation, however, is that within Google Chrome — which as of May 2017 had just over 63% of global desktop browser market share and 49% on mobile — the ads in violation of the new standards will be completely blocked. The browser already aprevents pop-ups in new tabs based on the fact that they are annoying, a Ramaswamy writes. Now, Google plans ato have Chrome stop indicating ads( including those owned or served by Google) on websites that are not compliant with the Better Ads Standards starting in early 2018. a

The Criteria for “Bad Ads”

Using combined data regarding its own surveys and those conducted by The Coalition for Better Ads, Google outlined what constitutes a abad ada on its DoubleClick blog. Hereas a quick summary of the findings 😛 TAGEND Ads that Interrupt. Remember those taunting countdowns we opened with? That counts as an ad that interrupts: one that aforces you to wait 10 seconds before you cana access the content you want. Thatas especially true on mobile, where 74% of users would describe these ads as aextremely or very annoying.a Remember those taunting countdowns we opened with? That counts as an ad that interrupts: one that aforces you to wait 10 seconds before you cana access the content you want. Thatas especially true on mobile, where 74% of users would describe these ads as aextremely or very annoying.a Ads that Distract. These are ads with ornate animation or that play aloud, automatically, as or after content loads. As one colleague said to me, speaking for many of us, aThose scare the heck out of me.a These are ads with ornate animation or that play aloud, automatically, as or after content loads. As one colleague said to me, speaking for many of us, aThose scare the heck out of me.a Ads that Clutter. Many ads also cause a pageas load time to slow down. Theyare what Google calls ahigh-density displays, a and they can make it even longer for users to get to the content they came to a site to assure. Immediate. When ads themselves load promptly, and donat slacken a pageas load day, people tend to engage with them more. Use Googleas AMP framework for ad can help — thatas what Time Inc. did, resulting in an increased clickthrough rate, among other measurables. Immersive. These are the ads that, in a manner that is, assimilate with the content being viewed, making it less confusing and less likely to interrupt or interfere with the consumption experience. Itas part of what Google calls anative ad, a in which ads are designed by the publisher of the site where they seem, and not by the advertiser.( Read more about that here .) That style, ads can more seamlessly fit in with your siteas format and intent. Relevant. Itas never been easier to learn more about the people who are devouring your content, by tracking analytics or through simple research. Those are some of the things that comprise aprogrammatic technology, a Google tells, and having that info can help content creators build ad experiences that are relevant to their users. And relevance, weave received, correlates with engagement — maybe thatas why 72% of marketers tell creating relevant content was one of their most effective SEO strategies.

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