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How Google's New Ad Regulations Will Affect Online Publishers

With the release of Chrome's latest built-in ad-blocker, Google has developed new regulations that restrict the type of advertisements their tool will deem acceptable. It is important for online publishers to understand the timeline as well as the details of these rules as it has a significant impact on their potential revenue. If you'd like to see our owner and CEO's personal feelings on the subject, read this months Forbes Article:

Google Is Making Chrome A Fierce Player In The Fight Against Annoying Ads

Our CEO, Mark Bauman tackles the hot topic of Chrome's new moves to suppress advertising and users choices.

When will these restrictions take effect?

As of January 23, 2018, all ads must conform to Google Abusive Experiences restrictions and as of February 15, 2018, all ads must conform to Google Better Ads Standards.

What are these restrictions and how will a publisher know if they are in compliance? This is determined by two Google reports: the Ad Experience Report and the Abusive Experience Report.

Google Ad Experience Report

This report, part of the Google Search Console, is focused on identifying potentially "annoying" ads that would drive users to avoid a particular site. Google reviews a sample set of ads on a site and makes a determination, based on those ads, whether this site has any content in violation of their Better Ads Standards and splits them into categories by desktop or mobile versions.

The following ads are considered in violation of the Better Ads Standards:

  • Desktop:
    • Pop-up ads
    • Auto-playing Video Ads with Sound
    • Prestitial Ads with Countdown
    • Large Sticky ads
  • Mobile:
    • Pop-up ads
    • Prestitial ads
    • Ad Density Higher than 30%
    • Flashing Animated Ads
    • Auto-playing Video Ads with Sound
    • Postitial Ads with Countdown
    • Full-screen Scrollover Ads
    • Large Sticky ads

If any of these ads are detected during the report, Google will flag them and provide a list that require corrections. This list will tell you what the issue was, a description of the violation, and include any examples of the ads you are running that are unacceptable.

Google Experience Report

This report delivers a summary detailing any ads that contain one of two traits: auto-directing or misleading the user to interact with it. These practices are now prohibited:

  • Auto-redirecting the page without user action
  • Misleading ads that trick the user into interacting with them, such as:
    • Resembling system or site warnings or error messages
    • Simulating messages, dialogue boxes, or request notifications
    • Displaying features that do not actually work
    • Presenting a "close" button that performs any other action than closing the element
    • Taking user to a landing page or any other content when they click outside of user-visible element border

What if Publishers break these new regulations?

If a site is found to violate these restrictions, Google will send a notification and the publisher must remove the non-conforming ads. Remember, Google takes a sample to test so there could be more prohibited ads than what are highlighted in the report. Once the site is fixed, the publisher will then be required to have their site re-reviewed for approval.

In the event that this second review is failed, Google will respond according to which standards are violated. An Abusive Experience violation will result in the blocking of external links while an Ad Experience violation will result in the blocking of ads by Google's built-in adblocker. Both violations will directly affect a publisher's revenue, so it is vital to understand what Google views as acceptable ads.

Keep in mind, as VentureBeat reported, just one ad that violates the new restrictions will not cause a site to fail the report entirely.

Preparing for the roll-out of each restriction

Take the time to ensure all of your ads conform to the new regulations. This will save you time later when Google reviews your site, which means saving you money. Also, wait to receive the notification from Google before submitting your site for the Abusive Experience Report. There is no need to rush this step.

Is your website in compliance with the new standards?

With all of these changes, you may have some questions about whether your site is in compliance. Feel free to contact your account manager to assist you with a smooth transition as the rules take effect.

What’s next?

We will be releasing new pop-under code with new security features that will comply with Google's new regulations. Look for an update later this month on this product.

ReviveAds is also releasing a comprehensive program called Adblock Choices. This program will work in compliance with Google's ad restrictions to ensure that the user is given the power to choose their ad experience. This product is useful for both regular and Adblock ads by using patented "ad-reinsertion" technology. By placing the Adblock Choices logo at the bottom of your site, you're letting your users know that you are a responsible site. Your users can then report malicious or intrusive ads, promoting a healthy online ecosystem where users are given the ability to support their favorite online content.