Google will update Chrome to block three kinds of intrusive video ads
Ads are a controversial topic in web browsing and video streaming. The use of ad blocking software is held by web publishers to be a counterproductive practice as it reduces or in some cases wipes out websites’ earnings by blocking their primary source of revenue. Equally, however, some users justify ad blockers because of intrusive ads that interfere with web browsing, reduce battery life on devices, and in general, lead to a deterioration in user experience. The theoretical solution is simple. To reduce ad blocker usage, ad providers have to agree on standardized forms of ads that aren’t intrusive. To that end, Google has been working with the group responsible for developing the Better Ads Standards: the Coalition for Better Ads. Now, Google has announced that it will update Google Chrome to block three kinds of intrusive video ads.
The company notes that Chrome has a long history of protecting users from annoying experiences such as blocking popup windows and warning users if a page has malware. For the last years, Google’s focus has been to address annoying, intrusive ads. In 2018, it started removing the ads from websites that continually show intrusive ads that violate industry standards. It also updated its own advertising solutions to ensure that it’s not selling or serving the kinds of ads that users find the most annoying. Apparently, it has since seen ad blocking rates “drop significantly” in Chrome in North America and Europe.
For the determination of intrusive ads, Google relies on the Better Ads Standards. The Coalition for Better Ads has now announced a new set of standards that show during videos, based on research from 45,000 consumers worldwide. According to its research, while there are many types of video ads, there are three ad experiences that people find particularly disruptive on video content that is less than eight minutes long.
The first one is long, non-skippable pre-roll ads or groups of ads longer than 31 seconds that appear before a video and that cannot be skipped within the first seconds.
The second category is mid-roll ads of any duration that appear in the middle of a video, interrupting the original content.
The third type is image or text ads that appear on top of a playing video and are in the middle 1/3 of the video player window or cover more than 20% of the video content.
The Coalition for Better Ads has announced that website owners should stop showing these type of ads to their site visitors in the next four months. In compliance, Google has announced that Chrome will expand its user protections and stop showing all ads on sites in any country that reportedly shows these disruptive ads beginning August 5, 2020. Surprisingly, the company notes that YouTube, just like any other website with video content, will be reviewed for compliance with the standards. This is a significant announcement.
Google will also update its product plans across our ad platforms, including YouTube, as a result of the new standard. For websites that show ads, Google advises owners to consider reviewing their site status in the Ad Experience Report, which is a tool that helps publishers to understand if Chrome has identified any violating ad experiences on their site. The company will update the report this week with information to help publishers resolve any issues with the new video standards.
It’s fairly clear that these new video standards represent a momentous change for video ads, especially for YouTube. A strict implementation of the new standard will essentially change how YouTube currently serves ads on videos, and will represent a big step back from the brink of highly intrusive ads that cheapened the video content experience. For viewers, such a change is certain to be viewed in a highly positive manner.