Expert opinion: Google developing ad-blocker for Chrome
According to unofficial sources, Google is planning to equip its browser, Chrome, with ad-blocking tools. How might this affect the online advertising market? Here to answer that question is Marta Sułkiewicz, an expert in online video advertising at Gemius.
Reflecting on the potential consequences of Google’s announced move, it's worth noting that, with its previous decisions on Chrome, Google has frequently determined standards for the entire online advertising market and browser designers. Ending Flash video player support made almost everyone switch to HTML 5 Player. So, something that appears to affect only Chrome users ─ with the share of total Polish internet page views for all versions of Chrome and Chrome Mobile browsers standing at almost 50%* last month ─ may become a trend for the entire market, and Google may be followed by creators of browsers whose business is not related to online advertising.
Might Google move aid market?
There is no information as to exactly which adverts will be affected by the Mountain View giant’s move. If the company’s operations only relate to the greatest irritants, i.e. pop-ups and auto-play videos, Google may actually help the market. It will get rid of the key reason for blocking ads (which is: to rid the web of publisher abuses of web user patience). As a result, network users may be less likely to use ad-blockers that block all ads rather than just the annoying ones. This play by Google may also benefit those publishers who, in collaboration with the IAB, have implemented specific standards to reduce the number of annoying ads. I do not think Google would take radical action on ad-blocking. After all, it is the main beneficiary of the advertising market, with YouTube, AdWords, and ad servers.
Universal ad-blocking: a potential threat to the sector
Actions taken by other browser owners, however, might pose a threat to the market; in copying Google’s move, they might go a step further and propose more radical solutions – cutting out all ads. It recently became technically possible to block even native ads.
*Source: Gemius, March 2017. Share of total page views originating from PCs and laptops is almost 30 per cent, and from mobile devices is 19 per cent.