Ad blockers pose a real threat to the advertising industry, publishers but also the free Internet. Now, Google has presented a tool that it hopes will become a solution to the problem of growing ad blockers among consumers. As part of The Coalition for Better Ads, an industry group of media companies, advertising agencies and marketers, the online giant wants to roll out a feature for Chrome web browsers to disable undesirable online adverts.
The addition will be exclusively available for publishers, not consumers, to allow them to filter ads that may disrupt the user experience, according to reports from The Wall Street Journal.
However, the move is being criticised by some as Google exerting too much control over digital advertising. Since then, members of the Coalition have come forward to reject the rumour. Randall Rothenberg, Head of the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) said:
“There is no ad-blocker that’s going into a browser. What we want is something that’s industry-wide, that can demonstrably improve user experience and that’s embraced by pretty much everyone.”
The Coalition rolled out some initial standards to improve ads for marketers and publishers to adhere to as best practices. However, wide support from the ad tech industry is an unrealistic expectation given its diverging interests. Indeed, Google critics have already raised the issue of Alphabet needing to adhere to the same standards when they are finalised. Meanwhile, publishers are making more money when they enable Coalition-listed ad formats such as full-screen ads and pre-roll video ads with sound.
However, the Coalition confirmed that it was still far from finding a true solution for digital standards. For digital marketing professionals, viewability, ad measurement, ad blocking and other many other issues are among the top areas of concern. Many of these are complex issues that are difficult to address under a best practice approach. In addition, ad tech develops at an increasingly rapid speed, consistently posing new challenges to ad measurement policies and viewability scores. Artificial Intelligence is just one of the many creative ad options on the horizon, but how will it be measured across the industry?
For Google, the survival of the digital web is critical and ad blockers are undeniably threatening that existence.
Whilst the Coalition includes members such as Facebook, others like Apple or Mozilla for example haven’t joined the group. Given Apple’s knack for doing things differently, it remains questionable if they will adhere to rules put forth by competitors. However, the company has its own browser Safari so may benefit under any policy that is eventually issued.