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article image50 percent of web users 'would not revisit' pages with popup ads

By James Walker     Aug 9, 2017 in Technology
Google has published research detailing how annoying ads impact browsing habits. The company said 50 percent of web users will not return to a site that uses intrusive popup ads. Google intends to help sites migrate to more effective alternative formats.
Google today announced the initial results of a new effort to assist publishers in using better ad formats. The company has partnered with the Coalition for Better Ads to encourage the adoption of ad formats that don't hide content, hinder the user or otherwise detract from the browsing experience.
Citing research conducted by the Coalition, Google said annoying ads account for the majority of ad block usage. In most cases, ad block users accept the need for ads on the web. They are frustrated with the current state of intrusive online advertising, something Google believes it can change.
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69 percent of people surveyed said they installed an ad blocker after encountering "annoying or intrusive" ads. 50 percent of respondents added they "would not revisit" a webpage that contained a popup ad. Intrusive ad formats can give publishers a higher income. The Coalition's findings show this is usually short-lived though as the ads will lower a site's reputation and detract return visitors.
Google highlighted the progress of its Ad Experience Report in helping publishers understand the impact of their ads. The tool assesses a site's use of ads and compares it to the Coalition's Better Ads Standards, now widely accepted by publishers and ad networks.
According to Google, over 140,000 publishers have already generated an ad report in the two months since the tool was launched. The company has started to analyse the data being reported, allowing it to identify trends in bad ads. Perhaps predictably, popups are by far the worse offender.
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On desktop devices, popups have accounted for a massive 97 percent of all the bad ads found by the tool. This gives publishers an immediate starting point to make their ads compliant with the Better Ads Standards and provide an improved user experience. Other forms of unsatisfactory ad identified include prestitials and auto-playing videos.
The situation on mobile is more varied. Due to the smaller screen size of mobile devices, popups are less prevalent. They're still the largest offender by far though, representing 54 percent of all bad ad strikes. On mobile, ad density is also a common issue, with 21 percent of sites overloading users with too many ads.
Google said its free reports are already helping publishers to make changes and improve their content. Most significantly, the company's findings confirm that the majority of web users aren't against all ads. They just want ad providers and publishers to keep the user experience the most important consideration. Google's actively supporting the Coalition's attempts to push the ad industry in this direction.
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"The good news is that people don't hate all ads – just annoying ones," said Google. "Replacing annoying ads with more acceptable ones will help ensure all content creators, big and small, can continue to sustain their work with online advertising. This is why we support the Coalition's efforts to develop marketplace guidelines for supporting the Better Ads Standards and will continue working with them on the standards as they evolve."
Google also discovered that most violations are coming from smaller publishers. Larger, mainstream news sites and industry publications have more successfully tidied up their websites, indicating that smaller ones are being constrained by their resources.
Google pledged to do more to help these sites by offering recorded videos of bad experiences within its ad reports. These will help sites to see how their ad use is impacting visitors, even if there aren't any immediately obvious problems.
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