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Google's Better Ads Standards Policy: What You Need to Know

By Anna Attkisson
Business.com / Branding / Last Modified: February 14, 2018
Photo credit: JuliusKielaitis/Shutterstock

If you're running certain types of ads on your website, prepare to see revenue sink as those ads will now be blocked.

On February 15, 2018, Google rolls out new ad-blocking functionality on its Chrome browser. The most popular browser in the world, with 59.3 percent market share, will now start automatically blocking ads it rules as intrusive. Those include video ads with sound that automatically play, large sticky ads that overtake the bottom of a computer screen and ads that blanket the entire screen. If your company is using any of these tactics in its online advertising, prepare to see click-throughs go way down.

By conforming to the new Better Ads Standards, though, you can avoid those traffic mishaps. The standards outline 12 types of ads it deems "particularly annoying." They were developed from public consumer research by the Coalition for Better Ads, a group focused on improving the web surfing experience. They surveyed more than 40,000 people in North America and Europe to determine the specific elements people hated most about online ads.

Other examples of soon-to-be-blocked ads include ads that fill your screen as you scroll over them on a phone, flashing animated ads, and mobile ads that take up more than 30 percent of your screen.

Going forward, Google will examine a sample of web pages from your site. If your site is running these types of ads, Google will contact you and offer you the opportunity to fix the issues and remove the ads within 30 days. It will tell you if your site is passing, warning or failing.

If you're failing and you fix your issues, you can ask Google to re-review your site. To see how your site ranks, review your ad experience report on Google's Search Console. As of February 12, 2018, Google says 42 percent of sites that were originally failing resolved their issues and obtained a passing grade.

For websites that display problematic ads, Chrome will post a message indicating that an ad was blocked. The user can disable the ad-blocking feature by selecting the "Allow ads on this site" option. The feature will roll out to Chrome browser on all devices running Android, Windows, Mac, Linux and Chrome OS but not iPhones.

Ad blocking is not a new phenomenon. More than 25 percent of current web surfers use ad-blocking technology on the desktop and 15 percent on mobile, according to the Interactive Advertising Bureau. IAB says that 20 percent of those people were convinced to turn ad blocking off for a site because they were not able to access the site's content. Ultimately, companies following these online ad guidelines may improve ad performance. However, some $12 billion in ad revenue is still expected to be lost by the year 2020 as a result of this type of technology.

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