Google Educates Publishers To Avoid Bad Ads

Google has been relatively successful at wooing publishers, compared to rival Facebook. The tech platform is hoping to consolidate these relationships by providing greater transparency and more detailed guidance about what constitutes good advertising from the standpoint of user experience — and what doesn’t.

Among other initiatives, Google is working to help publishers comply with the Better Ads Standards by alerting them to bad ad experiences, including video recordings of the offending executions, in its daily Ad Experience Reports. For sites that have received a “warning” or “failing” designation for ad experience, Google will include videos and specific pointers about fixing the ad experience, as well as consequences if ad quality doesn’t improve.

The announcement of the new report comes as Google’s Sustainable Ads project revealed preliminary findings of its new Ad Experience Report. It was launched in June to help publishers determine how their ads measure up, according to Google’s rubric for high-quality ads.



Google’s guidelines hew closely to the Better Ads Standards, a set of rules formulated by the Coalition for Better Ads earlier this year.

Overall, Google said just 700 sites out of around 100,000 reviewed to date required remedial action. The list included some big names, such as Forbes, Life & Style and In Touch Weekly, as well as several newspapers owned by Tronc, including the LA Times. A number of other publishers received warnings.

Some of the findings were not surprising.

Popup ads represented one of the most common violations of the ad standards, accounting for fully 97% of all transgressions for desktop users. Google helpfully suggested other, less intrusive formats for reaching consumers when they access content, such as full-screen inline ads, which don’t cover up content and don’t surprise the user.

Popup ads were also the worst offenders on mobile, accounting for 54% of all violations. However, Google uncovered some other common violations: 21% of all violations were due to excessive ad density.

Despite the appearance of some big publishers in the list of offenders, Google found that larger organizations were rarely at fault. Most problems came from smaller publishers, which probably don’t have the same resources to establish and monitor ad quality standards.

The Ad Experience Reports are intended, in part, to help smaller publishers tackle the problem.

Many industry watchers have speculated that Google may begin discriminating against publishers that produce large numbers of bad ads in the forthcoming edition of its Chrome browser.

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