Starting on Feb. 15, Google's Chrome browser will no longer show ads on websites that are in violation of guidelines created by the Coalition for Better Ads. On Jan. 18 from 11am to 12:30pm, Connectiv’s Digital Media Council will host a meeting in which all Connectiv members are invited to join a discussion about how publishers are preparing for the changes (we’re also working to have representatives from Google and the Coalition on hand to field general questions about the new guidelines). To join the discussion on Jan. 18, register here or e-mail Geri FitzGerald at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Coalition, which includes major ad associations, advertisers such as Procter & Gamble and Unilever, and publishers such as Thomson Reuters and the Washington Post, has flagged both desktop ads and mobiles ads that are considered disruptive, including pop-up advertisements, auto-play video ads with sound, flashing ads and full-screen ads that block content from readers. A full listing is here.
Physically conforming to the new standards shouldn’t be difficult for most publishers (and the Coalition does offer examples of ads that are in compliance) but anticipating performance issues and potential changes in revenue as well as dealing with advertisers who are committed to ads that are now verboten makes things much harder. “As an end-user, I love what Google and the Coalition are trying to do,” said Aneel Tejwaney, CTO at Haymarket Media. “But as a publisher, this puts us in a bind. Some of these types of ads are a significant part of our revenue and quite frankly, our advertisers are demanding it because they work well at interrupting the user. It’s a whole learning exercise not just for us but for our clients.”
Tejwaney says that Haymarket will be most affected by two types of ads that the Coalition and Googe have flagged—what Haymarket calls calling “pre-stitials” and mobile ads that show up on short article pages. “Currently, we have a three second wait time on some ads, which helps viewability. Part of the new standards is to remove the wait—that will hurt viewability, which is a crucial aspect of what advertisers are asking us for.”
Haymarket is testing new ads formats but Tejwaney says that one of his biggest concerns is that Google hasn’t reviewed and approved his sites yet—a situation most publishers will find themselves in with the Feb. 15 deadline fast approaching. “We don’t know where we stand, time is short, we need to address this, but we have no data to go by. How strict is the Feb. 15 deadline—will publishers immediately start getting penalized or is this almost like a soft launch? Making changes is easy but knowing where to make the changes (without being reviewed by Google) is the hard part."