- An updated Chrome will begin blocking resource-intensive ads.
- And this move will likely be disruptive to publishers that rely on rich media inventory.
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Google will introduce a default setting this month to block ads that violate its heavy ad intervention policy, per AdExchanger.
Google defines heavy ads as those that consume more than 4MB of network data or 60 seconds of total CPU usage, both of which can strain battery life and internet capacity. Only 0.3% of ads meet these criteria, but they make up 27% of total ad data network consumption, according to a May blog post from Google. This new browser setting is another move by Google to improve ad quality on Chrome, similar to its efforts to enforce the standards set by the Coalition for Better Ads (of which Google is a member), which seek to deter “annoying” ad formats like pop-ups and autoplay video ads.
Publishers that rely on long-form videos or rich media ad units may be especially at risk of having inventory blocked. Both ad types are resource-intensive and more likely to be categorized as “heavy ads.” US rich media ad spending will make up 54.8% of total display ad spending this year (or $41.03 billion), and while only a small fraction of the ads that make up this spending will exceed the threshold, it still represents an important source of ad revenues for many digital publishers. For example, on a Google message board, a BuzzFeed developer said that this new policy presents a “massive risk in that over 50% of our video ads could be affected from serving on Chrome.”
Google’s policy is the latest effort by companies to assert more control over digital advertising. Google announced in January that it would phase out third-party cookies from Chrome over the next two years, a significant disruption to how publishers monetize internet traffic.
This followed Apple’s 2017 move to remove third-party cookies from Safari, which preceded a June announcement that it would require user consent for Identifier For Advertisers (IDFA), another important source of user tracking for mobile advertisers. Prioritizing user experiences on browsers and mobiles devices will likely continue to affect digital advertising, forcing advertisers and sellers to re-evaluate their advertising strategies.
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