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Don't Panic Over Google Ad Blocking

Google has begun blocking ads in Chrome and the implications 'could' be significant - but probably won't. 

Considering that the Chrome browser is being used by approximately 56 percent of all Web users and that most sites monetize their digital presence through advertising, it makes sense that digital publishers are concerned about the impact that Google "filtering" ads has on their revenue - but there's no need to panic.

The number of sites that Chrome will actually block ads on turns out to be relatively small. Of the 100,000 most popular sites in North America and Europe, fewer than one percent violated the guidelines Google uses to decide whether to filter ads on a site (source: Wired).

As for the millions and millions of other, less popular websites, however, the impact will undoubtedly be far more significant as their reliance on advertising is higher and the need to monetize often leads to more aggressive tactics. The best course of action if ads are being blocked might just be to change revenue models entirely - away from ad-supported and toward subscription-based offerings where appropriate. 

Another reason Chrome's ad blocking is nothing to panic over is that the new feature only blocks ads that violate guidelines published by the Coalition for Better Advertising. Those guidelines, should you be interested, identify four specific types of desktop ads and eight types of mobile ads that users find unacceptable as they obscure and/or obstruct the content users are trying to view (e.g. ads that take up too much screen space or play audio automatically) so avoid those formats at all costs. The good news is that most are going to be in compliance with the best practices already. If not, some simple changes to "delivery" (such as when popups are triggered) would be the smart choice.  

Finally, if you're concerned about ads on your site possibly being blocked know this: you'll have time to make neccessary adjustments. The company notifies sites that are in violation of the guidelines before blocking them. Sites have 30 days to resolve the issues and if a site doesn't resolve the issues, Chrome will then attempt to filter all ads on those pages.

Chrome is certainly not alone in offering ad blocking natively (Safari and Mozilla have a similar but not identical approach) so it is possible that being in a panic over Google blocking of some advertising and promotional assets is simply but totally overblown. 

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