Dissecting New Google Changes

Google is making a major change in Chrome and punishments for violation are pretty severe. Beginning February 15, Google Chrome will begin forcing websites to abide by new ad standards by blocking all ads including those served by Google, on websites not in compliance. Translation: Google is now telling you how you can monetize your site.

Publishers take note: this new change could block all ads on your site for 30 days.  

Why Better Ad Standards?

Formed by several trade associations and online media companies such as Microsoft, Facebook, and Google, the Coalition for Better Ads set out to “improve consumers’ experience with online advertising.” Initial research from the coalition included an ad preference survey of 25,000 North American and European internet desktop and mobile users, with more countries to be surveyed later. The goal was to determine which types of ads prompted users to adopt ad blocking software.

Notable from the research, consumers least preferred the following types of ads:

  • Pop-ups

  • Flash or animated ads

  • Autoplay videos with sound

  • Ads that require a countdown to dismiss

  • Sticky ads that fill more than 30% of the screen

  • And more.

These results were used to create better ad standards that would be better for consumers, but also marketers and publishers as well.

Are These Changes Better for Publishers?

It could be... for publishers who are paying attention to their audience.

Although the standards are voluntary, Google has chosen include the “Better Ad Standards” as part of its Chrome browser beginning in February 15, 2018. Chrome currently has over 55% of the user market, with over 2 billion downloads. This statistic means that there is a likely chance that your user has Chrome for their browser and your websites could be affected.

Websites accessed by Google Chrome that feature the “least preferred” ads, such as popups or autoplay videos, will be reported via the Ad Experience Report. If your website is reported for review, you have 30 days to fix the issue and resubmit the site for review. After 30 days, if the website still has a “failing” status within the Ad Experience Report, Chrome will then remove all ads on websites that fail to meet the standards.

Learn more about which ads would cause your site to be marked for review.

What Can Publishers Do to Stay Compliant?

Be aware of violations. The first thing publishers need to do is understand how to access and use the Ad Experience Report to see if they are in violation. Google will offer the report to users and owners of website properties through Google’s Search Console. Your webmaster can help with access to the report.

To learn more about Ad Experience Report, watch this:

If you do have any ads that violate the standards, work with your webmaster to remove or change the ads on the website and resubmit the site to Google for review within 30 days.

Look for alternatives. As an example, one of our clients is exploring an ad platform called “Adventive” which allows you do to some interesting ads that don’t violate the standards. Google also offers other ad suggestions that won’t violate new ad standards including:

  • Ads that don’t slow down or block content.

  • Native ads that blend seamlessly with the content.

  • Ads that are relevant to the interests of the user.

Know your audience and explore other paths to monetization. Google’s implementation of better ad standards is only part of the wave of changes that’s making it harder for publishers to monetize their web visitors. Apple recently added a new privacy feature to prevent advertisers from tracking users on the web through their Safari web browser. Microsoft and Facebook will also likely follow in Google’s footsteps since they too are a part of the Coalition for Better Ads.

With more changes in the coming year, and the major players taking a role in deciding how brands can monetize their site traffic, publishers have all the more reason to focus on audience development and reader revenue opportunities.