As Google prepares to roll out an ad-blocking version of Chrome, it’s been scoring websites using its Ad Experience Report. The tool provides screenshots and videos of ads that have been identified by the Coalition for Better Ads as most annoying to users, such as pop-ups and autoplaying video ads with sound and “prestitial” ads with countdown timers. While there are little to no worries for publishers that already avoid such ads (it’s hard to disagree with Google’s stance that people shouldn’t have to put up with video ads that play automatically with the sound on), others that struggle to monetize or have less resources to fix their sites have some concerns. Here are a few of them:
Pop-up ads are often maligned because they get in between the reader and the content. Pop-ups account for 54 percent of violations on mobile and 97 percent on desktop on the sites it’s screened so far, Google said. Some publishers have the impression that newsletter sign-up pop-ups will also be blocked, though, forcing them to decide between removing those, which could mean sacrificing some newsletter sign-ups, or risk Google blocking all their site’s ads. That’s a trade-off no publisher wants to have to make when trying to make direct connections with readers.
“What do we do? We need people to sign up for our newsletter,” said Paul Likins, vp of revenue operations at American Media Inc., whose Men’s Fitness and National Enquirer sites were cited by Google for violations.
A Coalition for Better Ads spokesperson said the coalition is evaluating feedback it’s receiving on that and other issues. The coalition also hasn’t studied in-stream video ads and ads within videos (prerolls and midrolls) so its initial guidance doesn’t address those. Google, meanwhile, said popups for publishers’ newsletters or surveys aren’t considered ads so they shouldn’t be blocked, although if they’re served by third parties, they could be labeled as ads, in which case the publisher would have to contest the finding.
Google also dinged sites whose ads fail its ad density test, or take up more than 30 percent of the page they’re on, as described here. But guidelines are gray. Some ads take up a bigger share of screen on some devices that make up a smaller share of the smartphone market, points out Melissa Simson, vp of ad product innovation at Kargo. It’s unclear if Google will punish publishers for having violations on those devices, even if they represent a small portion of users.
Enforcement is another broad concern. Google hasn’t specified how many violations would cause a site to fail. Google has told publishers it will look at each site periodically. “A potential downside would be if there is a question on a bad ad, if you’re working in the programmatic space, you have some amount of control, but sometimes, bad ads get through,” said one exec at a midsize publisher. For some, the fact that it’s Google cracking down on bad ads gives them leverage over ad buyers who still want to push intrusive — sorry, high-impact — ads on people.
“It gives publishers a bit more ground to stand on to focus on great user experience,” said Chris George, evp of product marketing and sales strategy at PopSugar. Still, the burden will fall more heavily on smaller publishers that are desperate for the revenue and don’t have a dedicated Google rep or extra design and ad tech resources for their sites. For its part, Google said it’s still working out details of enforcement and wants to hear publisher feedback about the process.
‘Halloween is when Christmas ends’: A look at publishers’ pre-Black Friday commerce content playbooks
Publishers' Black Friday coverage plans are starting earlier and earlier but commerce teams are evolving to meet the demand.
How social media managers are coping with the Twitter debacle
Twitter – once a stable and trusty workhorse for social media strategists – now resembles the most wildly unpredictable social platform in the marketing arsenal.
‘A big reset in 2023’: After Big Tech’s mass layoffs, job candidates face intense competition
Recruiters report that 'we've never seen a market quite like this' as tens of thousands of employees flood the market.
SponsoredWhy cookie deprecation is deflating performance and inflating costs for advertisers
With the full deprecation of third-party cookies on the horizon, advertisers and publishers are navigating a challenging and quickly evolving landscape. The sunset of the third-party cookie continues as usage and lifetimes fall. Their deprecation is preventing brands from effectively measuring the effectiveness of media campaigns in real-time at highly granular levels. As the industry […]
Martin Sorrell-backed S4S Ventures, Bertelsmann invest $10M in data asset management outfit as it blends new content, analytics-based marketing for clients
The recent explosion in content has created the need not only for more sophisticated tools to manage it, but better ways to attach data and analytics to the content in order to better optimize it at the right time for the right opportunity.
Member ExclusiveMedia Buying Briefing: Which media will buyers turn to in a soft local market in 2023?
Traditional media including broadcast and print are expected to be hit hard by revenue losses. What will save local from a deeper downward trend next year will be local ad spending on digital, digital out-of-home (OOH) media and connected TV.