Google Chrome’s Built-In Ad Blocker

On Valentine’s Day, advertisers were delivered the (not altogether romantic) reminder that people don’t care what they have to say. We’re exaggerating, of course, but you’d be forgiven for getting the overwhelming feeling that more and more is being done to empower users to block banner ads. Mobile Marketing Magazine reports that Google Chrome will now start to block ads that do not comply with a predefined set of guidelines.

Scary stuff for advertisers and publishers alike, considering the digital ecosystem relies and runs on the support of ad investment. Without ads there is no free internet, and that should scare people. Imagine having to pay for your daily dose of cat videos. Perish the thought.

Dig a little deeper, however, and it’s clear that this is merely the latest episode in a series of actions of tough love from an industry growing increasingly tired of advertising that, for want of a nicer way of putting it, has been on a sharp decline in quality as barriers to entry have become ever shorter.

Anybody with a laptop, an internet connection and a credit card can run a display campaign, which, while being a great thing for competition, isn’t such a great thing for protecting the integrity of an industry reliant on an ecosystem that works for everybody. Yes, everybody. Especially the end user.

If the trend is for people to switch off from more ads because they find them annoying, they ignore them completely as a sort of guilty-by-association reaction. It goes without saying that ads which go ignored do not work, and ads that do not work cease to run. If there are more ads not working, there are less ads running, and less opportunity for content creators to make advertising pounds. Ergo, poor advertising = poorer internet for everybody.

So What’s Actually Going Wrong?

There are myriad influencing factors, but we’ve summarised the two biggest reasons for ads becoming more irritating for the end user.

1. As more players are competing in the programmatic space, the fragmentation of ad specifications has become rife. Standardisation is thrown out the window and control over what is and isn’t accepted became almost impossible. We’ve ended up with ads that look cluttered, large file sizes which slow down the users’ browser, and barely readable ads which look like they were created in Paint.

2. At the complete opposite end of the spectrum, tuned in advertisers are acutely aware of viewability concerns, especially with programmatic buys. Only 41.5% of programmatically bought mobile display ads were classed as viewable by the Media Ratings Council in H1 2017. It’s a slightly rosier picture on desktop (50.2%), but the fact remains that more emphasis is being placed on the viewability of display ads.

(source)

While this is a cause we can get behind and one that makes sense, taken too far, optimising towards viewability is unhealthy. If you tell an algorithm to reach a target it will do everything in its power to achieve that target, regardless of who it annoys. If you task your chosen platform to reach 100% viewability, you will not only increase your CPM to unsustainably high levels, but you’ll naturally optimise towards overlays and pop-ups, which are a big no-no when it comes to user experience.

How Can You Avoid Getting Your Ads Blocked?

First and foremost, follow the IAB’s LEAN guidelines and you’ll be all set in terms of avoiding your ads being blocked. Ensure your ads are;

Light

We don’t recommend running display ads larger than 150kb. Not only will this incur greater tracking costs, but under these new regulations, larger size ads may now get blocked on Chrome.

Encrypted

Use HTML5 ads for both their creative flexibility and animation capabilities, but also their encrypted nature.

Ad Choice Supported

Use trusted vendors — Ask us about our buying platform.

Non-invasive

Avoid pop-ups. By all means optimise towards viewability but weigh up the relative benefits of 80%+ viewability vs. the premium you’ll have to pay to achieve that. We’ve found that 70% is a good benchmark to aim for.

Beyond avoiding getting your ads blocked think audience first, every time. It’s one thing to avoid getting your ads blocked, but while you’re at it, stop to think:

‘Is my ad informative?’

‘Is it interesting?’

‘Is it funny?’

‘Will it make the person I’m targeting think or feel an emotion?’

If it’s none of these things, re-evaluate the creative and think audience first. Here at Cube3 we champion the importance of marrying creative with insight and leveraging ad tech to amplify messages that truly engage your audiences.

Which is a pretty good reason to get in touch.