Google Offers Users Option to Mute Ads
This move from Google is a logical progression of their preparation for the much heightened awareness of consumer data and how it’s used by advertisers in the wake of incoming GDPR regulations in Europe.
There’s a general move towards ‘responsibility’ on the part of advertisers and advertising platforms globally and Google need to be seen to be at the forefront of this, particularly in light of some damaging headlines last year in relation to their YouTube and Google Display Network ad targeting (‘ads funding terrorists on YouTube’ was the wakeup call that was needed).
Google are seeking to make some early moves to take the high ground. They’ve thrown their weight behind the Coalition for Better Ads (an industry wide initiative) and are integrating ad blocking software to Chrome to block ‘annoying ads’. And now this, a means of allowing internet users to opt out of remarketing on a brand by brand basis.
For Google this makes sense. Their Display Network is vast (2m+ sites) and their pockets are deep. They’ll have done their homework on what the likely effect this move will have on ad revenue, but they can afford to ‘take the hit’ assuming that’s the way it goes.
Spare a thought for other sellers in the same market, who will almost certainly have a more difficult time. Criteo, who grew impressively initially as a retargeting specialist, announced in January a forecasted one fifth drop in revenue as a direct result of Apple’s introduction of ad blockers to Safari.
In a nutshell, fewer people to retarget, will result in less inventory to sell, and less revenue as a result (though prices are likely to increase, we don’t expect they’ll ‘fill the gap’)
Ultimately any move to transfer some control of data back to the end user is a good thing. It will help remove a long standing shoddy image which has clung to certain elements of the online advertising sector. It should lead to ads that reach people who are willing to receive them, and therefore to better results to advertisers. Long term though, our view is that such moves are likely to squeeze more marginal (though still significant) players, and are likely to reinforce the already dominant position Google and Facebook have taken in the market.