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Google to block autoplay video ads in just 57 days time

The world’s most commonly used Internet browser, Google Chrome, will start automatically blocking autoplay video ads and popups in just 57 days time in a move which will impact a number of Australian publishers.

The February 15 crackdown, announced on the company’s Chromium developer blog, will see the browser – used by nearly sixty percent of the global market – block ads not complying with the US-based Better Ads Coalition guidelines.

The guidelines, which were based on a 2016 survey of 25,000 European and North American internet users’ dislikes, will see pop-up ads, auto-play video ads with sound, pre-stitial ads that appear before a page loads, and large sticky ads banned.

Although the coalition has the backing of the US chapter of the Interactive Advertising Bureau, Australia’s IAB has been less definitive in its support, with several of its members not currently meeting the standards.

In addition to Google’s blocking, the Better Ads Coalition will in January begin rolling out the Better Ads Experience Program, an initiative intended to improve the online ads and promote industry adoption of the Better Ad Standards.

The Better Ads Experience Program will certify web publishers that agree not to use the most disruptive ads identified in the Standards and will accredit browsers and advertising technology companies that will assess publishers’ compliance with the initiative’s standards.

Publishers and adtech companies on the program register will not have ads on their sites filtered and will be notified under a yet to be finalised program should any adverts breach the standards.

For the moment, the program is voluntary, however the stick of not being accessible to nearly two-thirds of web users will make compliance necessary for most publishers.

As well as Google, the Better Ads Coalition includes a range of technology vendors, advertisers adtech companies, publishers and media agencies. Prominent members include Proctor and Gamble, Microsoft, Facebook, News Corp, Thompson Reuters, Group M and Omnicom Media Group.

Locally, the Interactive Advertising Bureau Australia is one of the Coalition’s affiliate members. Jonas Jaanimagi, executive consulatant of IAB Australia, told Mumbrella Google’s rollout will not be seen by local users at first as the rollout will initially be limited to North America and Europe.

“As things stand, the Better Ads Experience Program has only been developed for the desktop and mobile web environments in Europe and North America,” Jaanimagi said. “It does not include Australia. IAB Australia continue to input into the product and consumer experiences work that the Coalition for Better Ads are doing, particularly as this is running in tandem with the forthcoming New Ad Portfolio rollout in 2018.

“Another critical detail is that currently the Coalition’s recommendations for video ads does not include pre-rolls ads delivered prior-to or mid-roll ads delivered during any in-stream videos relevant to the page content.”

Google Chrome accounts for about 60% of internet browsing globally. Google’s announcement follows Apple incorporating ad blocking technology in its iOS mobile operating system and Safari browser earlier this year.

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