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Are Your Digital Ads Making it Through Chrome’s Aggressive Scrubbers?

Phillip Reinhardt

In a moan heard around the world, Google — and soon thereafter Safari — launched aggressive ad blocking techniques into their popular browsers, prompted by the Coalition for Better Ads. The premise is simple: users should know when advertisers are gathering their personally identifiable information, and make an informed decision about whether or not they allow the advertisers to track them online. To this end, the Coalition developed a list of “least preferred” ad experiences for desktop and mobile web browsing. While this is great for consumers as it allows them to remove some of what they may consider annoying advertising, it has a completely different effect for nice marketers who are simply trying to get their message seen by their target audience. If your ads aren’t compliant with the new guidelines, chances are your message is being scrubbed before users are able to become buyers.

About the Coalition for Better Ads

The members of this coalition read like a Who’s Who in the digital world: Facebook, Google, Microsoft, The Washington Post, Thomson Reuters, Unilever and many more. This disparate group of individuals came together for a unified purpose: to find a way to stop ad blockers from creating a poor user experience. Ads that disrupt the experience, slow down the overall browsing process and interrupt content are all factors under consideration. The goal is a worthy one, but unless you stay up-to-date on the recommendations from the group and how they’re being implemented on major browsers such as Safari and Chrome, chances are your ads will not be showing on a site — or your site will be penalized for poor ad practices.

Chrome and Safari Ad Placement

Serious Penalties

Ad blockers don’t actually block all ads, just the ones that include what some may consider annoying practices:

  • Autoplaying sound and video
  • Flashing animated ads
  • Full page ads
  • Large sticky ads
  • Content-blocking countdown ads
  • Full-screen scroll over ads

Google’s singular focus is on creating a better user experience on the web, and their aggressive filtering will also extend to the mobile web. You can view a full list of blocked ad types on the Coalition for Better Ads website.

Three-Step Process for Ad Blocking

Fortunately, Google is making efforts to ensure that site owners know about the block before it is enforced, but that hasn’t stopped some sights from maintaining the ads and hoping for the best. Google’s engineers note that they are evaluating sites, informing owners of any issues that are found during the site review and providing site owners with a period of time before ad blocking is fully enforced. There isn’t a lot of time being allotted for sites to make amends and clean up their ad standards: Google only provides a 30-day window before aggressive blocking begins. What’s worse: Google is not only blocking the ads that are non-conforming to the Better Ads standards. Blocking is done on a sitewide basis — meaning even compliant ads will be blocked from a site that also contains ads that are not compliant with the requirements.

Advertisers: Rocky Waters Ahead

If you’re suddenly seeing sitewide advertising revenue shrink or slow to a crawl, it could be that this is the problem. You can review your advertising standards to ensure that your site is fully compliant, and create ads that are considered more user-friendly. This comes not too long after the GDPR regulations that have global businesses scrambling to find a way to appropriately allow users to accept the use of cookies from their sites.