In recent days, major press outlets, including WSJ, TechCrunch, and Engadget, have reported on rumors that a future version of Google’s Chrome browser may include a built-in adblocker. As Chrome commands 51% of the browser market, our publishing partners have naturally expressed concern over what this means for their ad driven businesses. As your 24/7 adblock experts, here’s Admiral’s take on it:
1) The rumored feature is widely being called an “adblocker,” though technically, a “bad ads filter” is more accurate. By contrast, true 3rd-party adblockers block ALL ads, in addition to calls being made for analytics and tracking purposes. It’s our opinion that a blurring of this distinction by the press could accelerate blocker adoption, driven by the perception that Google “endorses” adblocking, leading to increased revenue loss among publishers.
2) Google’s rumored move indicates support of recent research by the Coalition for Better Ads, that outlines standards publishers and advertisers can follow to deliver a better, non-disruptive user experience. Google is a member of both the Coalition for Better Ads, and the IAB’s Adblocking Working Group (alongside Admiral). Both groups are working to define LEAN Ads standards designed to help improve ad environments industry-wide.
3) Any move Google makes must take into account antitrust implications for actions that could disadvantage ad units or adtech/martech providers that compete with Google’s ad products. Therefore, it’s likely Google will continue to leverage industry groups like the CBA and the IAB to define standards they can support along with publishers, advertisers, agencies, and adtech/martech providers like Admiral.
4) The press has suggested that Google hopes releasing a “bad ads filter” on Chrome will slow adoption of 3rd-party adblockers in the longer-term.
5) It’s likely that mobile browser market share is a driver in Google’s strategic thinking. For example, UC Browser includes a built-in adblocker and has seen rapid adoption in Asia and beyond, impacting Chrome’s market share on mobile devices. Mobile ads have been somewhat of a safe haven for publishers in the U.S. and the EU because adblocking rates on mobile lag behind those on desktop in these regions. This could be the trigger to accelerate mobile adblock adoption.
What every publisher should be doing to prepare:
1) There’s no better time than now to assess your ad environment and understand how this impacts your adblocking rates. Admiral’s free Measure module helps publishers track user response to your ads, on desktop and mobile, as the industry transitions to LEAN ad formats and scoring.
2) As always, adblock revenue losses are something publishers should tackle with user experience in mind from the start. Services that recommend injecting ads via surprise ad reinsertion do not address the underlying issues. Engage with your users, listen to what they have to say, and build your strategy upon their actions. You’ll be surprised how many are willing to support you by whitelisting or disabling their adblockers, or by opting-in to an ad-lite/improved experience.
3) Think beyond a potential Chrome “bad ads filter” and adblocking in general. Publishers need to navigate the adblocking era by growing visitor relationships beyond monetizing “eyeballs”. Admiral Transact helps facilitate this by offering users ad-free viewing in exchange for microtransactions, subscriptions, email opt-in, social engagement, app installs, and more. The more you build a trusted, multi-channel relationship with your visitors, the less impact Google or 3rd-party adblockers will have on your revenue.
We’re here to help. Find out how you can refine or get started on your adblock strategy at GetAdmiral.com. Feel free to contact us at any time.