One ring to rule them all — Google Chrome the biggest AdBlocker of them all

As announced, Google Chrome browser will start blocking all banner ads (including Google Ads) on selected websites from 15th February 2018. Ads will be blocked on those websites which Google flag as non-compliant with Coalition for Better Ads recommendations.

Until recently, there were only rumors that Chrome will start blocking non-compliant and aggressive ads — but in the end, Chrome will simply block all ads on selected websites — forcing online publishers to take even more care about what kind of ads they are serving to their visitors, or they are risking loosing all advertising income.

In our region, exYU, Chrome browser (mobile and desktop) is responsible for 2/3 up to 3/4 of the page-views(Gemius ranking), globally about 55% (StatCounter). Meaning, if your website is flagged for Chrome ad blocking by Google, you can kiss goodbye 1/2 up to 3/4 of ad impressions and consequently ad revenue.

To be prepared for the announced new Chrome behaviour in near future, we have to dig a little deeper an see how’s Chrome will know on which site to block the ads.

Chrome as a web browser will not check the compliance of the ads on websites that we visit, instead it will just read an info from Google newly created index about the website. That new index was created in June 2017, and compliance is checked by sampling your website by special version of Google bot.

As Google released that new Google bot, they had an update for webmaster tools, adding Ad Experience tool, allowing webmasters to check if their website is compliant with Coalition for better ads recommendations.

As CBA recommendations defers from platform, Ad Experience Report tool is actually two reports, for mobile and desktop ad experience. Differencing platforms can result that Chrome on mobile block all ads on one website, while Chrome on a PC shows them regularly.

Detailed reports, about the reasons for block or warnings, can be found in Google’s webmaster tools, in that way info is available only to the website’s owners. But still info about the compliance or/and will Chrome will block the ads is available to everyone via Google API.

In Ad Experience report you can find info regarding mobile and desktop ad experience of the website:

  • When was the latest change in status
  • What is the standard region applied — currently there are two US (Region A) and Europe (Region B) — Google will chose a region based of the origin of website traffic
  • Is the website compliant with CBA recommendations
    Passing — status is obviously good
    Warning — will point you to some problematic ad behavior but Chrome will still show the ads
    Failing — means that your website in non-compliant and if that status lasts more than 30 days, Chrome will stop showing ads on your website and the filter status will change.
  • FilterStatus shows if Chrome is showing ads on that site
    OFF is good, meaning that all the content and ads will be shown to all Chrome visitors

I have tested about 20 websites for each country in the region (exYu) and few global ones, at this time most of the local websites are not reviewed. From those which are, only a few has a problem being non-compliant.

From the Ad Experience api response for this website, you can see that the mobile version is non-compliant and the filter status is pending. So if the publisher of this website don’t fix the problems with ads, Chrome will block all of them on the mobile version from 15th February.

This website is compliant on mobile and desktop, and it’s designated region is Region B — Europe, so europe’s version of the Coalition for better ads recommendations will apply.