A hot topic within the publisher community is ad blockers and the effect they have on a website’s revenue. It’s easy to understand why it gets so many headlines when you look at the numbers. According to research conducted by Google over $20 billion in ad revenue was lost due to ad blockers in 2015 and in 2016 more than 10% of internet users had them installed on their devices. Recently Google has placed a lot of focus on ad improvement and user experience taking the issue of ad blocking head-on.
As you probably are aware of, many online website publishers monetize their content with display ads. However, a middle ground needs to exist between engaging content, ads and user experience. Intrusive monetization methods like auto-play music or videos and other formats can promote the use of ad blockers. This is the exact opposite effect publishers, and even Google wants. Keep in mind; Google is just as reliant on publishers monetizing their content with ads as publishers are on their network (AdSense). Clarification of this was shown when Google recently announced changes to its AdSense policy and how they will focus on page-specific ad bans in an attempt to prevent site-wide lost revenue.
See the post here: Transparency Set To Change With New AdSense Policy Center
The fact is that ad blockers hurt the internet as a whole, advertising, and even journalism.
Google’s aim has always been to improve the web experience for the individual user and wants to improve ads across the internet. Their recent announcement of a collaboration with the Coalition for Better Ads is a clear indicator that they are serious about ad quality.
In light of this development, Google has released new tools for publishers to ensure they stay on the safe side of users regarding ad usage with their Ad Experience Report Tool. What this tool does is inform the publisher of specific ads and instances on their website that might not conform to the Better Ads Standards. It’s a very useful tool that leaves out all the guesswork while providing the user with detailed information, videos, images and more to improve the ad experience for users.
The type of advertisements that can negatively impact a user’s experience
It’s safe to say that if you offer a good ad experience to users on your website, the internet will be a much better place. Fewer users will feel inclined to install ad blockers, and more funding would be available for internet and publishing development. Luckily Google published a list on their DoubleClick blog from research conducted by the Coalition For Better Ads and identified ads that users hate. They go hand in hand with the Ad Experience Report Tool I mentioned above. It is great information to be aware of, especially if you are a serious publisher.
Interrupting ads: An example is visiting a news website, trying to read a recent post and being inclined to pause for a specific duration to view the ad before being able to see the page fully. This type of interference is labeled as the most irritating to users. This is especially evident on mobile devices in ad formats such as pop-ups that prevent users from reading the content without disruption.
See the example below.
Distracting ads: This includes ads with flashing imagery and auto-play sound clips. According to the research, users decide within a mere second if they will stay or exit your site. These types of distracting ads could increase users exit rates and is a risk on mobile and desktop devices.
See the example below.
Cluttering advertisements: Too many ads on a page could increase the page load time of your site. Google has stressed page load times many times before, so much that it has even become one of the many SEO ranking factors to look out for. Slower load times can decrease a user’s overall experience of a website. It can also get harder for users to find what they are looking for and the adverse effects just keep piling up.
Read the full report here: Creating better ad experiences for everyone
Why do users install ad blockers?
According to research from Google, more than half of users are implementing ad blockers because of too many ads with the rest stating it’s because of annoying ads.
Here are the groups identified:
User serious about privacy: This group cares more for control than the experience they have on a site. Whitelisting a website would be a normal cause of action for them, disabling an ad blocker, not so much.
Users that hate ads: This group of users wants to have a web experience without ads. Blocking them from seeing content will probably not change their mind. They will only exit your website.
Unknown blocking users: Would you believe that some users have an ad blocker installed on their browser without knowing it? It’s more common than you think. An example would be where an acquaintance installed the blocker on their device. Luckily this group does not mind changing their ad blocker settings, whitelisting and removing it entirely. However, instructions on how to achieve these results need to be clear and easy.
Overwhelmed by ads users: This group is in support of ads and promoting the online content generation, but annoying ads are too much for them. They employ ad blockers since they believe there aren’t any other options available. You can try implementing paid subscriptions within this group as well as asking them to whitelist your website on their ad blocker.
Google’s funding choices for publishers
This development from Google is similar to implementations you might have previously seen on large publishing sites such as Forbes.com and BusinessInsider.com. Essentially what it does is allow publishers to display a message to website users asking them to disable the ad blocker for their website (whitelist the site) or pay a certain amount to remove all the ads from the site.
Currently, this feature is available to publishers only in specific regions such as the Northern parts of the US, UK, Australia, Germany and New Zealand. More countries will be allowed to use this feature later on in 2017.
For tips on implementing the optimal strategy to use the Google Contribution methodology and getting users to whitelist your website see the article at DoubleClickByGoogle.com about “How publishers can engage with people who use ad blockers.”
Chrome improvement to meet Better Ads Standards
Google’s Chrome browser has always aimed at providing the best user experience possible. In collaboration with the information above, from 2018 and onward, Chrome will be implementing their form of ad blocking. Advertisements that don’t comply with the Better Ads Standards will automatically be blocked. Recent news reports have also indicated that Apple’s Safari browser’s latest update will include a feature that can block autoplay videos within the browser.
Even though some of these developments and changes might seem confusing to publishers, you can rest assured that Google has not only the user but your interest at heart. Their focus is on improving and sustaining publisher funding via means of advertising since Google AdSense and supporting products are a big part of Google’s service offerings.
Here at MonetizeMore, we will keep you updated on any other news and information regarding these implementations. If improving your user’s ad experience seems like an uphill battle, or you simply want to maximize your website’s earnings, contact MonetizeMore for a free consultation today!