What You Need to Know About Google’s Crackdown on Intrusive Ads
You’ve probably experienced the frustration of clicking a link only to have an annoying ad pop up and prevent you from reaching the web page you were trying to view. Most likely, you watched as the ad slowly counted down from 10 seconds as you wondered if it’s worth the wait. Or maybe you’ve scrolled through a site only to have music start playing loudly and unexpectedly as you scramble to make it stop.
Many online content creators depend on ads to generate revenue to fund their work. However, online advertisements have become increasingly interruptive and annoying, causing some people to block all ads.
Google has taken several steps in recent years to improve the user experience. In the beginning of June, Google took one more step by announcing that they’re going to crack down on intrusive ads beginning in early 2018. Google isn’t going to do away with ads completely, but they are trying to improve the ad experience for users.
This means that Google Chrome will stop showing ads (including ads owned or served by Google) that don’t comply with the Better Ads Standards. Google will do this by building an ad blocker in the Google Chrome browser.
The Better Ads Standards were put forth by the Coalition for Better Ads as a way to provide clear, data-driven guidance on how ads can be improved for consumers. The Coalition for Better Ads is made up of leading international trade associations and companies involved in online media.
What Constitutes a “Bad” Ad?
The Better Ads Standards identifies the types of ads that consumers least prefer and find most annoying. The standards also identify the types of ads that are most likely to cause consumers to use an ad blocker. By identifying the types of ads that consumers least prefer, the Coalition has been able to determine the types of ads that are considered acceptable by consumers.
The Better Ads Standards were developed based on research that involved more than 25,000 consumers. The research identified four types of desktop web ads and eight types of mobile web ads that fall beneath the standard of what consumers consider acceptable. The ads that annoy people the most tend to fall intro three categories. The categories are described below.
- Ads that interrupt – These are ads that disrupt the flow of information. They include pop-up ads and ads that make you wait a certain number of seconds before viewing the main content.
- Ads that distract – These are the ads that play unexpectedly or ads that animate or flash with rapidly changing backgrounds and colors.
- Ads that clutter – These are ads that bog down a page making it load slowly. They hinder users from finding the information they need.
Google created this image to show the types of ads that most annoy mobile users.
Google also created this image to show the types of ads that most annoy desktop users.
How to Build a Better Ad Experience for Users
So now that you know what you shouldn’t do, you might still be wondering about the steps you can take to build a better ad experience for users. To build a better experience, Google suggests the following:
- Be immediate – Ads should load fast and not slow down a user’s browsing experience. People are more likely to engage when ads load quickly.
- Be immersive – Ads should blend in with a site’s content so that they aren’t distracting or annoying.
- Be relevant – Ads should be relevant to a consumer’s interests to help keep them engaged on your site.
Although Google’s intrusive ad crackdown won’t go into effect until early 2018, you should still prepare now. Google hasn’t specifically stated that non-compliant ads could be impacted in search rankings, but it’s a possibility. Make sure your ads are relevant, load quickly, and blend in with surrounding content on your site.