Q&A: Chris Loretto on Google's Native Ad Blocker

Mar 23, 2018


Article ImageConcerns about ad blocking rose to new heights when Google announced a native ad blocker for Chrome. EContent interviewed Chris Loretto, EVP of Digital First Media, a publisher and parent company of digital marketing agency Adtaxi, about the reality of what Google’s ad blocker means for advertisers and publishers.

Q: Why does Google Chrome's ad blocker have publishers and brands more worried than usual about ad blocking?

A: Google’s Chrome browser has roughly 60% market share across desktop and mobile. With the ad blocker going into effect, this gives Google a lot of power over the internet. So it’s fair that publishers and brands would be worried about the impact this may have on their revenue and advertising campaigns.

Q: What is the potential impact on publishers' bottom lines?

A: In 2017, OnAudience.com estimated that publishers lost $15.8B in ad revenue due to ad blockers. It’s yet to be seen the real impact this will have on publishers’ bottom line, but it’s likely some will be hurt by having to eliminate ads that may have provided consistent revenue for them previously. On the flip side, by eliminating annoying or disruptive ads or reducing the number of ads on a website altogether, you may be able to garner higher rates for those remaining.

Q: What steps do advertisers need to take to ensure their ads aren’t blocked?

A: Advertisers should ensure they are doing their part to adhere to the guidelines put forth by the Coalition for Better Ads. All advertisers should conduct a thorough audit of the advertising they’re running and pull any that aren’t in compliance. Advertising is a key part of any web user’s online experience and it’s incumbent on the industry - both advertisers and publishers - to serve ads wisely and purposefully. Doing this can add value to the user experience. With a better overall ad environment, users will be less apt to install ad blockers, and more inclined to engage with brands.

Q: The Coalition for Better Ads has had guidelines available for quite some time. Do you have a sense of how many publishers and advertisers are already in compliance?

A: According to recent reports, .5% of publishers have received warnings and only .9% of publishers have received “failing” status. In addition, of those sites that have been notified of ad issues, 37% had corrected them in advance of the change taking effect.

Q: Do you think this will ultimately improve the web experience for users, and therefore benefit brands?

A: Yes. The goal of the ad blocker is, ironically, to avoid ad blocking. The ad experience can be a very seamless part of your browsing experience, and when used correctly, can add value. While it may be too early to evaluate the results of this initiative, reducing ads that create friction with our users certainly makes logical sense in reducing the need to leverage ad blockers. Ideally, it will improve key metrics like time on site, and brand loyalty.

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