Following the news last week that Google has announced it will crack down on “intrusive interstitials” in January, Paul Thomson, VP EMEA, Blis, discusses why the industry should lead by Google’s example.
This week, Google has announced it will take down and potentially penalise “intrusive interstitials” on mobile web pages from January, reinforcing its commitment to providing the optimal mobile search experience for its users. According to Google, this will mean that “pages where content is not easily accessible to a user on the transition from the mobile search results may not rank as highly,” as ‘’they provide a poorer experience to users than other pages where content is immediately accessible.”
This initiative marks another key step in the battle against poor quality advertising, and Google should be applauded for recognising that consumers deserve to be protected from unscrupulous advertisers that want to grab attention at all costs. As we’re seeing with this, and Facebook’s decision to disable ad blockers and commit to improving the quality of advertising, the user experience is now becoming a key priority for a growing number of channels. This in turn is driving demand for new, more user-friendly advertising formats such as native, which is mutually beneficial for advertisers, publishers and consumers alike; native formats are proven to dramatically increase consumer engagement, and have the added advantage of being bypassed by ad blockers. With IHS predicting that by 2020 in-app native advertising revenue will generate almost two-thirds (63.2 percent) of mobile display advertising revenue, amounting to $53.4 billion in total, it’s clear that the advertising landscape is changing, and shifting away from the interruptive or annoying adverts that cause the surge in ad blocker downloads.
The time is therefore now ripe for the rest of the industry to acknowledge that it’s been abusing the patience of consumers, and follow Google’s example. We have a responsibility to ensure that we’re serving the right content to the right people, at the right time, in the right location, and the format adverts are delivered in plays a huge part of this. Through this approach, we can ensure that consumers only receive content which is interesting and relevant, and which they will want to engage with. This in turn drives ROI for marketers and revenues for publishers, while enhancing the overall user experience.
In parallel with this, the industry needs to ensure it’s doing a better job of educating consumers about the benefits of advertising. While poor quality, untargeted advertising undoubtedly has many flaws, advertising as a whole has been instrumental at keeping the internet free at the point of use. We should therefore look to work towards a scenario where consumers are educated about the huge benefits advertising could bring, and where consumers accept a free service in exchange for agreeing to view personalised, targeted advertisements, delivered at an appropriate time and place. One this has happened, we can finally achieve publisher/consumer unity.
By Paul Thomson