Google is coming… for your ads!

The discussion about online-ads have been going on from the dawn of the internet, but fuelled by rising of ad-block software. Once again this debate seems to be on the rise, after leaks from Google headquarters, which shows that an ad-block will be added to Chrome (Google’s web-browser) and if that’s not enough: it will probably be turned on by default!

As a design and branding company, we at Black help our costumers grow their business through campaigns; outdoor, social and through ads. Perhaps you do as well. So should we be worried then? Well not necessarily, but you better do an ad check up.

The Coalition for Better Ads

Let’s start from the beginning. Ad-blocks have been on the rise for years and today 26% of American internet users are using ad-blocks to some extend. And I understand them! Ads can be annoying, ruin the experience and be without no relevant content for the user. On the other hand; nothing is for free and people seem to accept ads (in some amount) for the exchange of free services, articles etc. as long that it doesn’t interfere with the experience of the service or web page they use.

To meet the users demands of free services in exchange for ads, the Coalition for Better Ads launched. The coalition consists of companies and organizations from around the world: from the Danish Advertiser Association (Dansk Annoncørforening), Pakistan Advertisers’ Society, to larger companies such as Facebook and Google. Two major players in the advertising business. The coalitions first initiative is The Initial Better Ads Standards, a series of guidelines and standards for desktop and mobile ads. The standards have been created after a research that included 25,000 consumers and their perception of online ads.

So what should I do?

First of all, you should use common sense and put your self in the users’ place. What ads made you smile, laugh, aware or buy? And perhaps even more important talking ad-blocks: what ads annoy you when browsing the internet? Give the ad experience you want! or at least the experience your target group wants.

Second, you shouldn’t panic. The default ad-block in Chrome will follow The Initial Better Ads Standard and therefore only block ads (or perhaps whole sites), that doesn’t follow these standards. The research found six mobile ads and 12 desktop ads that didn’t reach the new standards. Tese being:

  • Mobile: pop-up ads, prestitial ads, ads with a density greater than 30%, flashing animated ads, autoplay video ads with sound, poststitial ads with countdown, full-screen scrollover ads, and large sticky ads.
  • Desktop: pop-up ads, autoplay video ads with sound, prestitial ads with countdown and large sticky ads.

After reviewing 10,000 sites, Google found 700 which didn’t meet the criteria for Better Ads Standards, one of these being Forbes. Click the link and you will discover why. Otherwise, I can recommend you to read The Initial Better Ads Standards. You can already check your own site for ‘bad’ ads with Googles ad experience tool.

After reading up and checking your website, you should simply do as before – at least if you do ‘good’ digital marketing. Create content that appeals to your target group, be creative and think out of the box, no matter if you are into influencer-marketing, data-driving, SoMe campaigns, SEM, something else or them all combined. I know this is harder, then it sounds and I won’t go into details here since you probably already have a digital strategy – otherwise, you know where to find us.

Some industries should be extra aware. News sites, blogs and so on, where advertising is the main income, can get a hard hit if they don’t start thinking in better ad standards or new business plans, pay walls, ads or something different.

It’s all just rumors – but be prepared!

As written at the start of this blog, the rumors of a standard ad block in Chrome, came from a leak. Therefore is nothing more than rumors, but since Google has chosen not to comment on this, you can be pretty sure they are up to something. In what degree we simply don’t know yet.

But embrace it! The reason for rising of ad-blocks is the industry use of over-using ads and ruining of good user-experience. The users have responded with blocking all ads and with the new standards, Google will take back the control of ads. Bringing them to the people, as long as the ads meet the new standard. This will probably mean less ‘hardcore’ ad blocks and save the ecosystem of something-for-something.


Author: Kenneth Gad, communications & content manager at Black Agency