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The following is excerpted from an advisory memo recently shared with Talbot Digital partners and stakeholders. To learn more about our services please contact inquiries@talbotdigital.com

by Chris Talbot

Last week Google launched its long-anticipated ad filtering tool in the Chrome browser, which removes ads from sites that don’t follow the Better Ads Standards. We monitored the rollout very closely, and much as we expected, the result was: not a whole lot! At least for savvy digital campaigners. The launch was largely a non-event, though in the long term it could improve digital ad fidelity and the user experience across the web. Google would argue that it already has: in the leadup to Chrome’s ad filtering kickoff, several major publishers fixed quality issues in their ad experience in order to meet Google’s expectations. Even these fairly modest changes in Chrome were met with some skepticism from some ad:tech and media industry competitors. Today’s rather benign improvements to the world’s dominant web browser could indeed open the door to biased media filtering tomorrow. Here’s what you should know:

WHAT HAPPENED

Google’s Chrome browser began removing the most annoying and confusing ads (like popups) on sites that do not comply with the Better Ads Standards. It’s estimated that 99% of publishers are unaffected by the update: this is mostly about forcing rogue or unprofessional publishers to fix their ad serving, in an attempt to make the general ad and web browsing experience better for users. We’re proud to say that Talbot Digital ad campaigns were already in the clear, as we focus on high-quality and high-impact ads with targeting that avoids rogue areas of the digital landscape.

WHAT IT MEANS

Of 55 desktop and 49 mobile web ad experiences that were tested, four desktop and eight mobile ad experiences were determined to fall below a “threshold of consumer acceptability.” Those 12 are the ad experiences that will cause a site to be non-compliant. Note that Talbot Digital did not recommend using these ad formats even before Google announced the Chrome ad filtering: we always recommend high-impact and high-quality ads and targeting, which is a major reason why this change will have zero negative impact on any of our campaigns.

Sites have 30 days to fix the issue before anything actually happens: Google sees this as a nudge to convince website publishers to fix the issue themselves, and so far it’s had good effect: 42% of the initial sites deemed non-compliant quickly resolved their issues and were are in good shape by launch.

As mentioned, this appears to effect only 1% of all publishers, and premium publishers have already moved to remove substandard ad experiences from their own sites and monetization partners. While Google’s moves don’t always benefit the user when that interest conflicts with the bottom line, in this case we are in strong agreement with Google that the effort is going to force rogue websites to shape up or find their bad ads removed, resulting in overall improvement to the user experience and ad quality across the internet.

For another good perspective on this: AdExchanger published a piece from a VP on the revenue side at Vox Media. This sheds more light on how publishers and Ad Tech companies are thinking about ad delivery.

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