Google could be about to make advertisers even more unhappy

20 Apr 2017

Google Chrome browser. Image: Jeramey Lende/Shutterstock

At a time when Google is trying to appease advertisers over algorithm issues on YouTube, it is also supposedly working on building ad-blocking software into its Chrome browser.

For those working in online marketing, ad-blocking software and extensions in browsers are nothing short of a scourge.

While sites now try to combat this with messages warning users of damage to its revenues – or just blocking access entirely – research shows that the number of people using the software grew by 30pc last year to 615m devices, mostly mobile.

It looks like this is to increase dramatically as the The Wall Street Journal reports that Google is now looking to build ad-blocking software directly into its Chrome browser.

According to Google sources, the feature would be switched on by default and would be designed to block out particular types of ads that are deemed to be against the user’s best interest.

Rather than setting its own rules, the filter will reject what is defined unacceptable by the Coalition for Better Ads, which recently published a list of advertising standards.

In the coalition’s research conducted with members of the public, these such ads on desktop include: pop-up ads, auto-play video ads with sound, prestitial ads with countdown, and large, sticky ads.

As for mobile, other flagged examples include: ads with density greater than 30pc, flashing animated ads, poststitial ads with countdown and full-screen scroll-over ads, to name a few.

Seems counter-intuitive

Google is also mulling over the possibility of hitting websites hard for breaching these rules, potentially blocking all ads on a site if it fails to remove one of the coalition’s list of offenders.

The decision to develop such software seems counter-intuitive for Google, as its business relies considerably on advertising, equating to $60bn last year.

It would also seem to be bad timing for the company as it is currently trying to win back advertisers to its YouTube platform. A mass boycott recently occurred after ads were found to be playing on videos inciting hate speech.

While Google has not officially commented on the development of this software, it may announce it within the next few weeks.

Google Chrome browser. Image: Jeramey Lende/Shutterstock

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic