Blocking Poor Web Ad Experiences: What's In It For Google?

While Google considers launching a filter on the mobile and desktop versions of its Chrome browser to block ad types that offer poor experiences for consumers, The Coalition for Better Ads, an ad industry group that has marketers behind it, is also doing its part.  The Coalition is looking to develop a technology that would prevent browsers like Google Chrome or Microsoft Edge from displaying autoplaying video ads with sound, pop-up ads, and ads that quickly flash or change colors.  

The Coalition released a list of ad standards last month offering guidance on ad formats including pop-up ads, prestitial ads, ads with density greater than 30%, flashing animated ads, auto-play video ads with sound, poststitial ads with countdown, full-screen scrollover ads, and large sticky ads.

This industry initiative is a positive development as stakeholders -- especially marketers -- are getting more serious about tactics.



And it's not at all surprising that Google, as an industry leader, is trying to figure out this problem. However, using ad-blocking to do so raises some eyebrows. For one thing, Google controls so much digital advertising, such tactics could give an already powerful player even more control over the marketplace.

The Wall Street Journal broke the story that Google is looking to add a blocker to Chrome; Google hasn’t commented.

As MediaPost’s Laurie Sullivan noted in a column, Google has spent years “resisting the temptation to block ads without generating revenue.” Further, she notes that Chrome has 54% of the browser market share worldwide on desktop and mobile combined, per StatCounter April figures. It's in Google's interest to take more control of the issue.

“If Google's strategy is to crush the ad-blocking market and prevent ads that have been identified by the industry as intrusive, then the net result is good for publishers,” Rich Sutton, CRO, Trusted Media Brands, Inc., told RTBlog via email. Sutton said publishers benefit if they can get rid of factors that mar the Web experience. “Chrome accounts for a large portion of Web browsing globally and Google's revenue is heavily reliant on advertising. But in this case, if the end is to eliminate third-party ad blockers, then the means are justified,” Sutton said.

It remains to be seen how this ongoing issue will play out. Meanwhile, poor experiences with advertising on the Web abound. No one benefits, period.

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