Google is working to block “annoying” ads in its Chrome browser, part of a broader effort by industry players to filter out certain types of marketing messages that draw complaints. “We believe online ads should be better. That’s why we joined the Coalition for Better Ads, an industry group dedicated to improving online ads,” said Sridhar Ramaswamy, Google’s senior vice president for advertising in a blog post Thursday.
“In dialogue with the Coalition and other industry groups, we plan to have Chrome stop showing ads (including those owned or served by Google) on websites that are not compliant with the Better Ads Standards starting in early 2018.”
Google’s move, in the works for some time, could end up reducing some ads served and impact its own revenue, but it aims to improve the overall web experience and discourage third-party ad-blockers that could have a more dramatic impact. Ramaswamy noted that “annoying” ads prompt some people to use ad-blockers that stop all advertising content, hurting revenue for content creators.
“The vast majority of online content creators fund their work with advertising,” Ramaswamy said. “That means they want the ads that run on their sites to be compelling, useful and engaging — ones that people actually want to see and interact with.” But he noted that “it’s far too common that people encounter annoying, intrusive ads on the web — like the kind that blare music unexpectedly, or force you to wait 10 seconds before you can see the content on the page.”
Google is a founding member of the Coalition, which was formed last year and aims to maintain the online advertising ecosystem while eliminating ads that many find irritating. The group released guidelines earlier this year for ads on both mobile and desktop. But some analysts say it will be difficult for Google and others to set standards that please all parties.
“It’s smart for Google to be part of the push for limited ad blockers even if that may seem counterintuitive, because if it can focus that activity on egregious ads rather than all ads indiscriminately, it has a much better shot at protecting its own massive ad revenue than if others take more of a blanket approach,” said Jan Dawson of Jackdaw Research.
“We can be certain that none of Google’s own sites or ad formats will be affected by this filter, but we can also guess that there will be something of an outcry from publishers feeling that Google is favoring itself while disadvantaging others. It’s going to be fascinating to watch this play out over the next few months.” According to the research firm eMarketer some 27.5 percent of US internet users will use ad blockers this year.