Google Has a New Ad Blocker? Not So Much

Susan Esparza  /  
March 6, 2018
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Since Google announced its upcoming tool integrated in Chrome, the internet has been abuzz over “Chrome’s ad blocker”!  Google was coming for your ads and the sky was going to fall! 

Then on February 15, 2018, Chrome updated and…the web looked much the same. So what happened? Did Google forget to turn on their ad blocker?

Of course not. It’s just that the tool Google created isn’t exactly an ad blocker, at least not of the AdBlockPlus or uBlock variety.  And think about it, why would Google block ads?  Google SELLS ads. They want users to see ads so that you will keep buying ads to show users.  It’s misleading to call this an ad blocker at all.

What It Blocks:

Google’s tool does two basic things, one on a broad level and the other very targeted.

The broad application of the ad tool is what is leading people to call this tool an ad blocker.  And yes, it does block ads, but only those that do not comply with the Coalition for Better Ads standards. Google is a board member of the CBA, so this is a natural fit. CBA’s guidelines for ads aren’t particularly restrictive and most ads that aren’t malicious will pass without an issue.  Call this more of an ad filter, than a blocker.

The targeted application really does allow a user to block a valid ad.  On a case by case basis, Google allows users to “mute” reminder ads served through Google’s network.  It’s part of their ad personalization and can be adjusted in Ad Settings. Muting an ad lasts 90 days before it expires and the preference is shared across any signed in devices.

What You Must Do:

What this tool really aims to do is reduce the amount of actual ad blocking going on. The number of users with an ad blocker installed rises every year, and most of those people are trying to block “annoying or intrusive” ads, like pop-ups, interruptions, distractions or cluttered ad spaces. By cleaning up those things, Google hopes that more people will let their nice, well-behaved ads through.

Serve compliant ads (which if you’re serving through DoubleClick, you already are so long as you’re following their best practices.) Use reminder ads with the knowledge that some minor part of the population who notices these things and isn’t already using an ad blocker may block you.

 Realistically, the average web user won’t bother. They’ll just be annoyed at your overzealous retargeting. (No, I’m not ready to let that go yet. Go fix your retargeting campaigns.)


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