Mind the Ad: How Publishers Can Incorporate Better Ad Standards into Their Websites

Torrence Boone
Mar 6 · 2 min read

When it comes to ads, consumers can be an evasive bunch. Multiple studies have explored rates of adblock usage and found them to be as high as 40%, at least on desktop, indicating the lengths users will go to in order to avoid ads. But it’s not that users hate ads but — just ads that employ annoying or invasive formats.

The Coalition for Better Ads has conducted research to determine which ad formats users prefer and which they don’t, and as a result, it released the Better Ad Standards to inform publishers how they can improve users’ ad experiences. In a recent article, Think with Google shared three insights of its own based on the standards to help publishers deploy ads that users won’t just endure, but enjoy.

Avoid Irritating Formats

Certain ad formats leave a bad taste in users’ mouths that will prevent them from either sharing or revisiting a page. Pop-up ads, for example, are one of the worst offenders; more than half of the 66,000 consumers surveyed as part of the Coalition’s research said that the appearance of pop-ups on a site would prompt them to turn down another visit.

Other ad faux-pas on desktop include autoplaying video ads with sound, prestitial ads with a countdown, and large sticky ads. Users also dislike the above formats when they appear on mobile as well as flashing animated ads, fullscreen rollover ads, and ads with 30% density or greater.

Follow Best Practices

While the styles listed above are formats non-grata to many consumers, there are certain ad types that actually make the grade in their eyes. On desktop, that means long, skinny ads that run down the right-hand side of the page; large, static images at the top of the page; and static inline ads. Mobile users prefer small, sticky banner ads at the top or bottom of the page as well as small, static inline ads. Publishers can convert any undesirable ads on their sites into these preferred formats to improve user experiences.

Put Sites to the Test

Even with the best intentions, negatively-rated ad formats can still make it onto a site. That’s why publishers should take advantage of the Ad Experience Report available on Google Search Console. It allows publishers to enter their sites for review, discover which ads violate the Better Ad Standards, and make changes. Only a limited number of submissions and review requests are permitted, so publishers should make sure that they’ve corrected all issues sitewide before re-submitting their sites. There is good news, however: Most sites — to the tune of 98% — have no violations, especially if they’re already free of pop-ups and self-playing ads.

Torrence Boone

Written by

Torrence Boone is the Vice President -Global Client Partner at Google. He has 20+ years of experience in his industry. http://torrenceboone.net

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