Google has begun preventing ads running on its Chrome browser that violate the Better Ads Standards. The search giant says the ultimate goal is not to block ads but to improve the experience for all web users.

The Better Ads Standards are based on public consumer research by the Coalition for Better Ads – an industry group of international trade associations and companies including the IAB, Facebook, Google, Unilever, News Corp and Microsoft. The Coalition surveyed over 40,00 internet users to determine what constitutes an intrusive ad.

So far the rollout only applies to North America and Europe, but Australian companies are being urged to follow the guidelines.

Sites determined to be in violation of the new standards will receive a warning and have 30 days to improve their ads before Chrome begins blocking them.

The ad vetting began on February 15th, according to a Google blog post. Pre launch warnings to sites which were failing the code resulted in 42 per cent of them resolving the issue, according to Google.

“This is the outcome we are were hoping for — that sites would take steps to fix intrusive ads experiences themselves and benefit all web users,” wrote Chris Bentzel, Chrome engineering manager.

The Better Ads Standards consists of 12 ad experiences that research found to be particularly annoying to users. Image Source: Coalition for Better Ads

According to OpenX’s VP of marketplace quality, John Murphy, publishers and advertisers can take comfort in the decision to remove ads not being solely determined by Google.

“It is clear that Google has taken careful steps to ensure its measures meet a broader set of industry-accepted quality standards (and not just Google’s),” he said.

“Clearly, with fewer disruptive ads, users will have better digital experiences, making them less inclined to install ad blockers and more inclined to engage with relevant and higher quality marketing, which should ultimately drive up the monetised value of good ad experiences for publishers.”

How it Works

According to Google’s blog post, “When a Chrome user navigates to a page, Chrome’s ad filter first checks if that page belongs to a site that fails the Better Ads Standards. If so, network requests on the page — such as those for JavaScript or images — are checked against a list of known ad-related URL patterns.

“If there is a match, Chrome will block the request, preventing the ad from displaying on the page.”


This article has been updated to clarify the program currently applies only to Europe and North America.

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