Chrome’s coming changes to video ad blocking could impact YouTube
Mid-roll ads of any length are deemed "intrusive" in updated Better Ads Standards.
Google Chrome’s ad blocking efforts will soon extend to “intrusive” video ads in short-form videos. The browser will adopt the latest standards for video ads from the Coalition for Better Ads, announced Wednesday. The changes will apply to certain pre-roll, mid-roll and non-linear display ads — and could affect advertising formats on Google’s own YouTube.
Three types of video ads targeted. The Coalition for Better Ads has identified three ad experiences for short-form video content — qualified as under 8 minutes — that are now included in the Better Ads Standards:
- Mid-roll ads of any duration.
- Pre-roll ads or ads longer than 31 seconds that cannot be skipped in the first 5 seconds.
- Text or display ads that appear in the middle third of a playing video or are larger than 20% of the video content.
Timing in Chrome. Chrome will stop showing ads on sites that “repeatedly show these disruptive ads” starting August 5, 2020. The update will affect sites globally.
YouTube impact? YouTube could be affected by the elimination of mid-roll ads in shorter videos. The pre-roll standard looks tailored to YouTube’s TrueView ads which allow users to skip after the first five seconds. Bumper ads, which are unskippable but only 6-seconds long, won’t be affected either. We may see changes to the appearance of display banners on YouTube videos.
“It’s important to note that YouTube.com, like other websites with video content, will be reviewed for compliance with the Standards,” the company said in its announcement Wednesday. “Similar to the previous Better Ads Standards, we’ll update our product plans across our ad platforms, including YouTube, as a result of this standard, and leverage the research as a tool to help guide product development in the future.”
Why we care. This is an extension of Chrome’s ad blocking — or filtering — that began in 2018 with desktop and mobile display ads. That first iteration of Better Ad Standards included auto-play video ads with sound enabled on desktop. The initiative, founded by Google, Facebook and the IAB, is aimed at curbing the acceleration of ad blocking, and it may be helping. Ad blocker rates in North America and Europe have “declined modestly from their peak in mid-2017” and that install rates for ad blocker plug-ins in Chrome have “declined more significantly since the fall of 2016,” the Coalition said.
Publishers and video platforms have four months to adapt to the standards or risk having all of their ads filtered out on Chrome. Advertisers should evaluate their media buys to estimate how the changes might affect their campaigns after August.