Publishers may still have a lot to learn about Google Chrome's ad blocking.
About midway through 2017, Google first expressed their intentions to unroll new ad blocking standards on Chrome. As a way to create a more enjoyable online experience for all, Google announced that, come February 2018, they would begin blocking all ads on sites that do not meet the Better Ad Standards.
As February came and went, MediaRadar thought it would be helpful to survey all of our B2B clients, to gain direct feedback, and to see exactly how publishers feel about Google’s ad blocking and the potential impact it could have on their business.
In Q1 of 2018, 28,892 advertisers bought digitally with B2B Media. Furthermore, we found that, among B2B publishers, the average portion of ad sales from digital was 53%. In considering this adoption of digital, however, our survey results proved to be quite intriguing.
As it turns out, simply knowing what types of ads are being blocked on Chrome is not the only thing that publishers need to understand. There are many factors, and many misconceptions that could lead an online publisher to violate the Better Ad Standards.
In our survey, we came across five very distinct misconceptions that would cause a publisher to have all of their ads blocked on Google Chrome - something that would obviously be of great impact to their business.
Five misconceptions about Google's ad blocking that affect publishers:
1. "We sell ads on our site, not Google's site."
The ad blocker is not specific to any web page, but rather, the web browser. Google's web page has no bearing on the ad blocking, unless that page is visited through the web browser, Google Chrome.
As long as a web user is exploring the web on Chrome, any and every site can be affected by ad blocking. This means that, even if a publisher is not serving ads on Google's site, they can still be in violation of the Better Ad Standards. If a publisher is serving ads on their own site, and someone visits that publisher's site through Google Chrome, the site will be affected by the ad blockers.
2. "Our ads are up to standards."
Many publishers believe that their ads are up to standards. But, based on our survey results, that may not be the case.
In total, 84% of B2B publishers currently offer ad types that are restricted by Chrome, including pop-ups, auto-play video ads, large sticky ads, and prestitial countdown ads. Below, the ad types represented in red are the ad types restricted under Chrome's new standards:
The results get much more interesting than that, as well. 54% of respondents did not think that Google Chrome's updates would hurt their business. Among those respondents, however, 87% are currently offering at least one restricted ad format, which points to the fact that publishers probably should be concerned.
3. "Our ads are reviewed for questionable content."
Google Chrome's ad blocking standards apply only to ad formats, and not the content within those ads. The updates were made to improve online advertising as it relates to the disruption of a user's experience with content.
For example, unsavory content or not, a pop-up ad will always be restricted on Google Chrome.
4. "Corporate users don't use Chrome."
The fact of the matter is, Google Chrome currently holds more than half of the global web browser market share - with some sources even citing a market share as high as 57%.
Simply put, regardless of the industry, and regardless of who a publisher's ad buying clients may be, every publisher interacts with Chrome users, whether they realize it or not - due to Chrome's overwhelming market dominance.
The second highest market share currently belongs to Safari at only 15%, so this misconception is not something that any publisher should have in mind, B2B or otherwise.
5. "If ads look different, users will switch away from Chrome."
In most cases, when an internet user experiences some kind of fiction, they'll blame the website they visited long before they blame the browser that they used to visit that site.
It's also much less likely that an internet user would notice ads disappearing, as opposed to more ads appearing. If Google is truly removing the least-preferred ads on the web, it's unlikely that users would immediately notice that they've disappeared.
So, what are the solutions for publishers?
Misconceptions aside, there are a few solutions that all publishers can adopt to assure that they will not violate the Better Ad Standards on Google Chrome.
Google loves native advertising, and with good reason. It perfectly fits the script for what they are looking to achieve with the implementation of the Better Ad Standards.
Native advertising is extremely well-integrated, and is therefore much less disruptive than other forms of advertising. It can also be sold across multiple online channels - including mobile, video, and social media.
Lastly, native advertising benefits everyone involved - from publishers, to advertisers, and readers alike.
Sell click-to-play video
Google Chrome is now restricting the use of auto-play video ads with sound. Video advertising, however, is still a very engaging ad format with high demand among advertisers. The solution here is for publishers to further utilize click-to-play video ads.
Click-to-play video can be used to complement native content, thus making it more powerful. And like native, click-to-play video can be sold across multiple online channels.
Video advertisements are also not as expensive as they once were, making it much easier for publishers to add video to their ad offerings. This is especially important for B2B publishers, as they will not have to break the bank to invest in video.
There is a lot for publishers to know when considering Google Chrome's ad blocking updates, but click-to-play video and native advertising serve as terrific examples of the types of advertising that are accepted everywhere, as well as what kind of advertising will be in high demand moving forward.