High quality content will win and those who lose will probably deserve to lose
So, about a month ago, Google launched a built-in ad-blocker for its browser, Chrome.
Google Chrome, much like the Google search engine in its own industry, is the most dominant browser today, with a usage share that trumps Firefox, Internet Explorer and all of the others. Understandably then, many advertisers went into conniptions, much like we do whenever Google does a major update of its search algorithms.
This perpetual terror that Google’s massive influence could allow it to upend our entire industry is a little silly when you think about it, though – advertising remains the search giant’s primary source of revenue, and Google would not be the force it is, if the company was in the habit of intentionally destroying its own income.
So, why has Google done this?
At first glance, it seems like a bit of a conflict of interests when one of the world’s largest ad providers says it’s going to crack down on advertisers. But, take a slightly longer look and the motives become clear.
Consider the following: ad blocker usage went up by 30% in 2016. As of this year, 30% of all internet users are using an ad blocker. On top of this, it has long been known that banner blindness renders all but the most relevant banners essentially invisible to a majority of online audiences.
Consider then, how must Google view these facts and stats when the most important statistic in its own business is the 90% of its revenue that comes from advertising?
The thing is, Google is not cracking down on ads; no, Google is trying to assert control over the ad blocking industry. Doing so is good for Google and it’s good for the internet user. It’s even good for advertisers – that is, unless you’re a lazy and uncreative advertiser who can only get clicks by ambushing people with intrusive, overbearing ads.
And that’s where we arrive at the point – Google Chrome’s ad blocker will not block all ads. Rather, it’s going to filter out ads that have been determined to be intrusive or annoying.
Think of those autoplay video adverts that have you scrambling through your open tabs, trying to figure out where that damned noise is coming from. Or how about the full screen pop-ups that you’ve accidentally clicked on, simply because they blocked every other element on the page you were visiting – you know, the stuff you actually wanted to click on?
Google isn’t trying to destroy advertising
Those are the sorts of practices that Google is targeting and, when looked at through the lens of the user, our earlier comparison to Google search algorithm updates becomes even more appropriate. Google isn’t trying to destroy advertising it is trying to save advertisers from some of their own abusive tactics – much like the search engine’s algorithm updates were intended to save SEO from its own abusive practices.
If advertisers continue to abuse users with overly aggressive content then eventually, 100% of users will block ads – then what will any of us do?
Google’s intent is to head the problem off before it’s an inevitability – and, frankly, Google is the only one with the necessary influence and market share to force this issue through. So, how is Google doing it?
It isn’t really even an ad blocker
Google is calling it an ad filter and it works by targeting sites whose publishers have allowed ads that violate the guidelines of Google’s new Ad Experience Report.
If you run a site that hosts unobtrusive ads that Google (by survey of its users) does not consider ‘annoying’ then you’ll be fine. Your subtle and relevant ads will remain on-site and will continue to earn revenue for you.
If, on the other hand, your on-site advertising raises too many red flags, Google will crack down, and none of the ads on that site will be visible to Chrome browsers.
In the second scenario, the site owner hosting the offensive ads will have to face the loss of revenue on all on-site ads – including those that did not violate Google’s guidelines. And the advertisers will have lost the reach, awareness or clicks through that those ads might have provided, had they not been bad ads.
Like the mighty giant that it is, Google’s every move causes tremors through our industry. Unlike the image search change of last month, however, this change is unlikely to do anything but improve the internet-goer’s online experience.
As for advertisers: producing quality ads that provide what people want, and veering away from annoying tactics should always have been your go-to strategy. If it wasn’t, you’ve helped to force Google to force you to behave yourselves.
If, like advertising here at Wetpaint, quality is always your number one focus, then all you need concern yourself with is making sure that you review the sites your ads will be appearing on – if a site is constantly flashing with annoying ad graphics, pop-ups and autoplay videos, the chances are Google’s going to make sure it’s an unreliable source of revenue.
For informed expertise, rapid results and up-to-date industry know-how, contact us here at Wetpaint and get an effective, creative and results-oriented advertising and marketing team on your side!