The Ad Experience Report and Chrome Ad Blocker

The Ad Experience Report is a tool that was added to Google Webmaster Tools. It audits a site for any invasive ads - as defined by the Better Ads Standards - and nonconformity with preferred ad density. The report is also how Google will govern compliance with the Better Ads Standards and determine which sites to block ads for with the Chrome Ad Blocker.

This initiative is in large part due to Google's membership with the Coalition for Better Ads. The Coalition defines how the ad tech ecosystem can use the Better Ads Standards to improve the user experience on the web with respect to advertising.

The Better Ads Standards is what provides the guidelines that Google uses as the basis for the Ad Experience Report  and Chrome Ad Blocker; this includes the specific intrusive ad types not to use (like interstitials) and the maximum ad density to adhere to, based on researched consumer preferences.

Google's objective with the Ad Experience Report and Chrome Ad Blocker is to essentially deter the use of ad blockers. A report by PageFair shows that 77% of ad blocker users are willing to view some ad formats. The rationale is that if a better UX is prioritized by ridding the internet of "annoying" ads, ad blocker usage will ultimately be stemmed.

Importance for publishers 

For publishers, this program is so important because in June 2017, Chrome announced that it will be adding an ad blocker to the browser in 2018.  The most recent announcement stated that starting on February 15, 2018, using the Ad Experience Report, Chrome's ad blocker will detect if publishers use any of the intrusive ads listed in the Better Ads Standards or don't comply with the maximum ad density defined.

If violations are detected, publishers are warned and have 30 days to correct any non-compliance. If the violations identified in the Ad Experience Report are not fixed within the 30-day period, publishers will have all ads blocked across their domain, whether the others are intrusive or not.

Considering that 58.6% of mobile traffic was on the Chrome browser in 2017 and 68.7% of all users ran on Android, this is a huge share of any publisher's audience where they could lose significant ad revenue if they don't comply with the Better Ads Standards.

Ad Experience Report statuses

Passing status

To acquire a "Passing" status and prevent any penalties, publishers must ensure they don't contain any intrusive ads on mobile - as defined by the Coalition's Better Ads Standards - and don't have ad density on mobile higher than 30%.

Warning status

The Ad Experience Report detected a violation according to the guidelines outlined by the Coaltion's Better Ads Standards. 

Violations include:

In this case, publishers have 30 days to correct the violations and submit their site for review before their entire ad configuration is blocked by the Chrome ad blocker.

Failing status

Publishers that don't fix the violations specified in the Ad Experience Report within 30 days of receiving a "Warning" status, get a "Failing" status. 

Chrome then blocks all ads for sites that have a "Failing" status until their violations are corrected and their site is reviewed. 

How Marfeel helps

To protect publishers' best interests and their ad revenue, Marfeel executes daily ad density checks for all publishing partners and logs the results. The results are connected to an alerting mechanism that automatically triggers an alarm if ad density is violated. That way, Marfeel can proactively promote compliance with the Better Ads Standards and jump in to fix any issues if detected. 

Enterprise model partners

For publishers on Marfeel's Enterprise business model, no changes are necessary in terms of ad types because Marfeel complies with the creatives guidelines defined by the Better Ads Standards. Since our inception, Marfeel has always been committed to an optimal UX to garner higher ad revenues in a careful balance between nurturing the reader and maximizing revenue.

In terms of ad density, even though Marfeel closely monitors this, publishers that opt for a more aggressive ad configuration should be aware that this can trigger a violation for the allowed ad density. For partners with aggressive ad configurations, Marfeel is taking action to ensure these publishers pass the Ad Experience Report.

One Ad per Page model partners 

For publishing partners on the One Ad per Page model, Marfeel will not implement ad formats partners request that violate the Better Ads Standards. This decision is strictly to prevent a dramatic loss of revenue from violations in the Ad Experience Report.

While Marfeel proactively tracks One Ad per Page partners' ad density (the same way they do Enterprise partners), it should be noted that the inventory Marfeel doesn't manage may contain ad types that don't comply with the Better Ads Standards. If you receive a warning or failing status, your Customer Success Executive will be in touch to let you know what actions or permissions are necessary to address the violation.