As announced in June, beginning February 15th Chrome will remove all ads on websites that do not meet the standards of the Coalition for Better Ads. Sites will have 30 days to address any issues flagged in Google’s compliance report before Chrome begins removing ads.
Google started this initiative in response to a report suggesting that poor ad experiences are responsible for a 30% increase in the use of ad blocking extensions across the web, which “reduces the ability for publishers to continue creating free content and threatens the sustainability of the web ecosystem.” Google is also on the board of the Coalition for Better Ad Standards.
The Coalition for Better Ads is made up of leading international trade associations and online media companies committed to supporting “valuable free content, robust journalism and social connections across the internet” through the use of online ads. Their vision for better online ads aligns with Google’s view, and led Google to join the effort to improve how people experience the web. Knowing that consumers are increasingly frustrated with web ads, the Coalition for Better Ads surveyed over 25,000 internet users to create a set of consumer-friendly standards. Google will apply these standards to review a subset of a site’s pages.
If Google finds several instances of a site not meeting the standards, it will flag the site as “failing” in the Ad Experience Report. Mobile and desktop experiences are reviewed independently. When Google identifies a problem, an entry is added to the report with a “failing” status with details and a video explaining the specific issue. If the failing status is not addressed within 30 days, Chrome will filter out all ads. Once the issues are addressed, site owners must submit the issue for Google’s review; once the review status changes to “passing,” it can take up to 8 hours for ads to return. Because failures may result in a major loss of revenue for sites that depend on ads to sustain their business, it is vital that publishers familiarize themselves with the report.
10up is committed to the idea of an open web and the democratization of publishing. Protecting the consumer experience while preserving a business model empowering publishers of all sizes is crucial. Excessive and disruptive ad experiences are self-defeating, in that they push consumers to install ad blockers or toward closed, proprietary platforms compared to the open web – a view we’ve shared in previous ad blocking reports. Finding this balance between user experience and business need is imperative for open collaboration and the distribution of ideas on a “free” web.
If you run a site with programmatic ads we recommend a periodic review of the Ad Experience Report inside of Google’s Web Tools to ensure compliance. If you need support submitting your site for review and addressing any warnings or failures, or just want a team who will take care of all this for you proactively, get in touch.