Jeremy Carson is an Associate Creative Director, working in the advertising and design industries for over 15 years.
In case you didn't hear, Google Chrome has launched an ad blocker, which will automatically block super annoying ads on any site you visit.
That's friggin' awesome.
As an advertising creative, you'd think my response should be filled with more negativity and a lot more profanity. Actually, this is great.
Ad blockers are on the rise. And with 60% of people using Chrome, more people blocking ads means I'm out of a job.
So why would I be happy that Chrome has a built-in ad blocker?
Because it's not actually blocking ads. It's saving my job.
TL;DR (Too Long, Didn't Read)
Short story is, Google's not blocking all advertising. I mean, it's Google. They make their billions off of ads.
Two things are happening:
- Less people will look to ad blockers that actually block all ads, because they think Google's will do it for them.
- Only really annoying ads are going to get blocked. So, hopefully people won't hate ads so much.
But it's a complex story. So, here's a little background on the ad blocking world...
What Ad Blockers Are Doing
Pop ups, autoplaying videos, big monster ads that block the content you want to see. Those are what people want to go away.
So, they've been downloading extensions to block all ads entirely. A little over a year ago, the Interactive Advertising Bureau said that more than 26% of desktop and 15% of mobile users had them. And you can bet that's gone up in the past year.
The most popular one is Adblock Plus, created by a company called eyeo. According to them, there are about 55 different types of ads out there. Their product blocks about 93% of them.
Google Chrome only blocks 16%.
What Google Chrome Is Blocking
Companies like Google and Facebook formed the Coalition for Better Ads, which published a study about the different types of ads and which ones suck the most. It agreed that there are 55 different types of ads. But they only thought 9 were bad enough to block.
- Pop-ups 📱 💻 - Universally hated.
- Prestitials 📱 - Ads that block a page's content.
- Prestitial Countdowns 💻 - Ads that block a page's content with a countdown (think Forbes.com).
- Poststitial Countdowns 📱 - Same thing, but on mobile.
- High Density Ads 📱 - Pages where more than 30% is ads.
- Distracting Animations 📱 - Mainly flashing animations.
- Fullscreen Scrollovers 📱 - They cover the page as you're scrolling down.
- Large Sticky Ads 📱 💻 - Those huge ones that cover the bottom of the page and don't go away.
- Auto-Playing Videos with Sound 📱 💻 - Burn in hell.
If your site has any of these types of ads on it, you're gonna get blocked in Chrome. That is, until you clean up your act and get re-certified. It's a whole thing.
Actually, 42% of companies that Google reached out to have already changed, based upon the new guidelines.
Why I'm Happy About All This
Back to why I'm glad all this is happening.
Well, remember the two points I made in the beginning?
- Less real ad blockers.
- Less frustration with ads.
More People Using Google's Ad Blocker Means Less People Using Real Ad Blockers
Google is huge. Everyone knows who they are, and to a degree, trusts them. Google is owning the ad blocker market with this.
Because if Google says it's blocking ads, people will trust that's the only blocker they need. "Why would I download some random company's blocker? I have Google Chrome. It does it for me."
Whether it works how people want it to or not, that's the truth.
This will make it even more difficult for products like Adblock Plus to gain traction, when a widely accepted, built-in product exists. (Honestly, people using those products will likely be less susceptible to online ads anyway.)
When the ones blocking the ads are the same ones serving the ads, it helps support my job, rather than fight against it.
People Won't Hate Ads as Much
Google's not blocking all ads (or else it would tank its own company). It's just going to block the really annoying ones. Remove the spoiled bananas so we don't have to throw out the whole bunch.
The hope is, over time, people will be more ok with ads, because the shitstorm of frustration will be gone.
Ad Blocking Will Save Ads
The reality is, advertising isn't going anywhere. It lets people get content for free on all their favorite websites.
As much as we like to say that we'd pay a few bucks a month to access Facebook, Google, YouTube, etc., those companies make billions upon billions more using their ad model.
The goal of almost every ad blocker has been to remove the bad ads from the internet. But most of them throw the baby out with the bathwater.
Google's approach of blocking the worst of the worst is a bold step. Especially for being taken by the world's largest ad network.
Hopefully by trimming the rotten parts of the industry, they'll help save it.