Starting on Thursday, February 15th 2018, Google turned on what they call “Ad Filtering” for their Chrome browser. What that means is Chrome will now block ads natively instead of you having to install an ad-blocker extension to the browser. This all starts with Chrome version 64 and will affect Windows, Mac, Linux, Chrome OS, and Android. The iOS version of Chrome is Safari-based so it will not have the ad-blocking yet.
To come up with the guidelines on what is considered a “bad ad”, Google worked with the independent organization Coalition for Better Ads and identified 12 ad types that they found were a poor user experience for visitors. These “bad ads” include pop-ups, countdown ads that restrict access to content until finished, auto-play ads, and large sticky ads.
If you display ads on your website:
To see if your site has ads that will violate these guidelines, you will need to have access to the Google Search Console for your site. Via the Search Console there will be a section marked “Web Tools”. Under “Web Tools” you will now have access to the “Ad Experience Report” which will give your site a Passing, Warning, or Failing status. If your site has yet to be reviewed, Google will not provide a status. Google will base your site’s status on a sampling of pages from your site on both desktop and mobile devices. If you are found to have offending “bad ads”, you will be given 30 days to correct the issue before Google acts to block ads on your site. Once you correct the ads in question, you will need to proactively request Google to re-review your site. If you take no action, or if the correction isn’t sufficient, after 30 days Google will block ALL ads from showing on the site – not just the offending ads. Chrome will then display a small notice to users when visiting your site that they have blocked the ads on your site with a link for more info.
This change is a major shift in how ad-blocking works. As of January 2018, Chrome’s user market share was 56.31% according to StatCounter, meaning that a majority of users on the internet will probably have an ad-blocker in place when they visit your site.
Google has also stated that their own ad networks, AdSense and DoubleClick, are not exempt from the ad-blocker and ads will be blocked if their own networks are in violation.
As a publisher you will need to be aware of the ads you are displaying on your site and what type of ads you are running. If you are a publisher who is reliant on advertising for any sort of income, just one “bad ad” that goes unfixed can have ALL the ads for your site blocked.
If you are an advertiser using display ads:
As an advertiser you need to be aware of the ads you are running, as well as the sites you are running them on. If you happen to have ads on a site that Google has decided to block in Chrome, you may be paying for advertising that no one will ever see.
You can read Google’s latest blog post on how this will all work in their Chromium Blog post “Under the hood: How Chrome’s ad filtering works“.
Life just got more difficult for publishers and advertisers…..