When Google Plays 'Good Cop' With Digital Advertising

Whenever Google lifts a finger, it is accused of trying to be a police officer to the internet. This will probably make most marketers laugh when responding to a guru with a grudge that it goes deeper than that. It's often the judge and jury, as well as arresting officer.

That doesn't always have to be a bad thing. Take the way it has cleaned up SEO. Link farms are now out, and most decent content services realise smart design and compelling content that engages a wide audience is truly the only way to get on page one of query. One pal who is an expert in the SEO "game" recently quipped to me that Google has become so good at knowing how its system has been played and it now understands queries and content so well that the only option left is to play with a proverbial straight bat.

I really can't see anyone, other than a dodgy link farm reseller, having anything negative to say about this approach. 

Which brings us very nicely to internet advertising. It's a mess. Brands know this, and so their agencies and publishers have been largely hiding their heads in the sand. They need more and more revenue to make up for print's losses, and cramming in an ever increasing number of units seems to be the answer. Throw in some autoplay ads, follow them up with banners and buttons that suddenly appear as you navigate and you just might get an accidental click. All this, and we haven't even started on overlays and interstitials. 

Today Google is taking this malpractice on. It doesn't take a genius to realise that publishers are not exactly relishing the prospect of not meeting Chrome's new guidelines. Fall foul of these enough times in a month and a site might get a warning. Keep on flouting the guidelines and it is possible that Chrome will switch off adverts being displayed when that site is displayed on its browser.

If you want to take a look at those guidelines, the best place is probably the web site for the excellent Coalition For Better Ads which has a page of the least favourable ad units. There are all the favourites you might expect to see but essentially if you're getting in the way of the content or blaring out of the speakers uninvited, possibly even both, then you're most definitely on the naughty step. 

And what on earth could be wrong with a browser that has around half the UK's market? That's a little bit down on the global average of nearly 60%, presumably because mature markers will tend to use smartphones more, and so Safari gets a boost from iPhone users. 

If you are the top browser in the world, by quite some margin, then it would just have to make sense for you to flex that muscle and tell publishers that enough is enough. People don't want to have to navigate around the ads. They don't want to have to count down while an interstitial tells them to buy something, they want a decent browsing experience.

For those still saying that this just another case of Google trying to be the cop of the internet, I say "good!" It's most likely that the average internet user would agree.

Cleaning up the browsing experience can only be a good thing, can't it?

2 comments about "When Google Plays 'Good Cop' With Digital Advertising".
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  1. Craig Mcdaniel from Sweepstakes Today LLC, February 17, 2018 at 4:56 p.m.

    I have been with Google AdSense for going on 14 years. I have seen the good times as well as bad in both quality ads and junk. Yes, online advertising is effective. As a publisher I could make good money. Not anymore.

    If I would say what I think the problem is, online advertising is totally dependent on computer programming. This is a very simple statement but think about it for a moment. Before the internet we had people talking with people about the ads they would place on TV, newspapers, radio and other medias. Now, nearly every ad has to have a computer involved and a program.

    With Google, it's nearly impossible to talk with a real human if you are a publisher. Clearly one could make a case that Google hates humans. Joking but it does seem true. In short, I love to see Google hire real customer service people instead of trying to program themself out of this mess. 

  2. Bob Gordon from The Auto Channel, February 18, 2018 at 1:06 p.m.

    after 12 years as an adsense partner.. we are now down 90% in audience and revenue since the kids at google have "improved" google... and worst od all we dont know why or how and no human to talk to .. f u good cops...

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