Chrome will start blocking intrusive ad formats within short-form videos

Chrome's video ad blocking will include ads on YouTube

Google’s recent advertising shake-up has extended into video, where its Chrome browser will soon start blocking mid-roll and other ad formats for short-form videos.

Google is complying with a new standard from the Coalition for Better Ads, which applies to videos lasting eight minutes or less across desktop, mobile web and in-app.

The standard filters out mid-roll ads, pre-roll ads or pods 31 seconds or longer that cannot be skipped after five seconds, as well as display ads that are in the middle one-third of the video player or take up 20% or more of a video.

The standard goes into effect on 5 August.

“Chrome will expand its user protections and stop showing all ads on sites in any country that repeatedly show these disruptive ads,” Google product manager Jason James said in a blog post.

Importantly, the standard also applies to YouTube, which recently revealed advertising revenues of $15bn.

Chrome, which accounts for roughly 70% of the US browser market, is cleaning up the video ad experience less than a month after it announced it’s phasing out third-party cookies in a significant blow to digital marketers.

While the decision to axe third-party cookies was more about alievating privacy concerns, Chrome’s move to block intrusive video ads is meant to improve the browser user experience by establishing best practices, said Matt Barash, head of strategy and business development at AdColony.

“Certain adtech companies that go out and tout browser-based, high-impact, non-standard formats will be penalized by this announcement,” he said.

AdColony is a member of the Coalition for Better Ads. Other members include Facebook, Unilever, News Corp and GroupM.

“GroupM has incorporated the Better Ads Standards into our inventory quality evaluation process, enabling our clients around the world to advertise more effectively in brand-safe environments,” said Joe Barone, managing partner of brand safety Americas at GroupM.

“Because they reflect consumer preferences, the Better Ads Standards are an essential tool for brands and publishers who aim to build trust and deepen relationships with their audiences.”

Smaller publishers – or ones that rush to hit quarterly targets with invasive video ads – may also feel the brunt of this decision from the Coalition for Better Ads.

“This speaks to a larger movement that is happening to clean up digital advertising,” said Andrew Serby, senior vice-president of marketing at Zefr, a company that helps brands advertise on YouTube.

“Google is taking charge here, which is good for consumers and brands, but disruptive for some of the bottom-feeding, audience-based and rich media companies that have largely been creating an interruptive and cheap digital space.”

Join us, it's free.

Become a member to get access to:

  • Exclusive Content
  • Daily and specialised newsletters
  • Research and analysis

Join us, it’s free.

Want to read this article and others just like it? All you need to do is become a member of The Drum. Basic membership is quick, free and you will be able to receive daily news updates.