The Battle Against Bad Ads

Around a month ago, Google released its built-in ad filter for Chrome, which blocks ads that are widely considered the most disruptive, while allowing more innocuous ones to show. This could cause major changes in the digital ad market, especially for Google’s platforms, such as search and display ads, as well as YouTube ads.

Given the context of ad blocker usage today, the move is widely considered a strategic one that could benefit the digital ad market in general and Google in particular. With a built-in ad filter on one of the world’s leading browsers, people may be less inclined to buy more stringent software. This would allow publishers, especially Google, to make steady money off their more discreet ads—rather than losing them all to another program.

More importantly, it shows that Google is willing to listen to users’ preferences.

In 2016 there were over 615 million devices running ad blockers of some sort, with growth especially strong among mobile devices, according to a study by PageFair. In addition to browser extensions, users can now get dedicated ad blockers through mobile apps or VPN services. With interruption as the second highest motivator for ad blocking (29%, just behind 30% for security), Google’s concession could be the key to building goodwill.

While YouTube’s video ads may emerge largely unscathed, there’s still much that can be learned from how Google and ad publishers are reframing the terms of engagement. What was once a fight against ad blockers is now a battle against bad ads.

When Ads Go Bad

When should you consider an ad bad? For users, obviously, it’s when it detracts from their online experience. The most widely hated ads are non-skippable video ads and auto-play ads with audio. You know, the ones some advertisers call “high-impact” as a euphemism.

But consider it this way. If users hate your ads, they’re not going to like you any better. So any ad that drives users away—”high-impact” or otherwise—is something that brands and publishers should consider a bad ad too.

Furthermore, experience has shown that you get more out of listening to your customers than trying to fight them. While some websites have tried ad block walls—features that hid content from users until they removed or disabled their ad blockers—customers have proved stubborn.

When faced with an ad block wall, 74% users would rather leave than disabled their ad blocker. And considering that 90% of users have been faced with such a situation, this isn’t merely a hypothetical scenario.

Conversely, users are willing to compromise: 77% of ad block users surveyed indicated that they found some ad formats to be permissible. Skippable ads are likely to tip the balance in advertisers’ favor: research from Treads showed that 79% of consumers would consider disabling an ad blocker if they had the option to skip or close ads.

The takeaway, ultimately, is that pitched battle with the audience does publishers no good. For brands, it could very well do lasting harm. The best way forward would seem to be close to the options Google has chosen, which is finding the middle ground.

Get Good

The question we’re left with is this: how can video ads better satisfy users’ preferences?

Interruption is the main culprit in dissatisfied viewers, so the various solutions have attempted to address it in different ways.

Some solutions focus on content adjustments. These have more to do with the conceptualization and execution of ads on the creative front.
Other approaches have attempted to tackle platform issues. These have more to do with the technology used in calling and displaying ads.
In terms of content, many analysts say that a move to native content is a good idea. The Treads research shows while 48% of users consider pre-roll ads intrusive, only around 23% said the same of native video ads.

For those looking to reach audiences specific to YouTube, however, that’s not much of an alternative. And that is where influencer marketing steps in. Having influencers on YouTube—or other video platforms—benefits you in two ways.

The first is the standard set of benefits you get from influencer marketing. You gain access to a captive, targeted market; your brand is recommended to them by someone who knows how best to reach them, and you get the endorsement of someone they trust. If you partner with a discerning influencer, then you can rest assured that your ads are likely to mesh with their audience.

The second benefit is that by having your ads integrated directly into the video, you get around the problems of the intrusive pre-roll and jarring mid-roll formats. On top of the abruptness of such ads, they usually involve sudden alterations in quality or gaps in loading. Ads that are part of a video will play more smoothly, creating less of a disruption.

The jarring break in pre- or mid-roll ads is something that video platform Brightcove has been trying to tackle more directly. Through a method called “Lift,” they’ve attempted to solve two problems at once: the disruption and quality issues that come from having a video play in the middle of another one; and the signals that allow ad blockers to stop video ads, to begin with.

read more here: vidooly.com

IAB says revenues up 21% to $88B in 2017. What they don’t say: ‘not for you’

The IAB (Interactive Advertising Bureau) is out with its Q4 and 2017 year-end state of the digital advertising industry report. In a repeat of the past several years, digital advertising revenue is up. There was growth across formats and devices. And while the IAB doesn’t name names, Facebook and Google continue to suck up most of the oxygen in the room.

The data for the IAB report is collected from IAB member companies and publicly available corporate data by PwC.

Overall, digital ad revenue grew 21.4 percent to $88 billion in 2017. To put that in perspective, PwC says the revenue change in digital seen last year is greater than in the newspaper industry as a whole.

Digital video increased overall share in 2017, chipping away at search, to $11.9 billion, up 33 percent from $8.9 billion in 2016. Search still continued to grow at 17.5 percent in 2017, to $40.6 billion. Banner revenues, which includes banners, sponsorships and rich media, totaled $27.5 billion in 2017, up 23 percent from 2016.

Mobile continues to gain share, accounting for 57 percent of the overall digital ad pie in 2017, to reach $49.9 billion. That’s more than all digital ad revenues in 2014. Mobile has seen a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 71.4 percent since 2010. Mobile share grew across all formats, as shown in the slide from the IAB webinar on the report.

Despite mobile’s ascendance, desktop revenues still grew in 2017, with a CAGR of 6 percent over 2016.

CPMs also increased in 2017, according to data from SQAD.com shared by the IAB. CPMs for in-stream video were up 3 percent 2017 year over year to $25.22, and CPMs for display rose 6 percent to $14.72 on average.

Social media isn’t broken out as a format, but its share of revenue topped 25.2 percent in 2017, reaching $22.2 billion. Facebook, of course, accounts for the bulk of social media advertising spend in the US.

Duopoly dominance
The IAB doesn’t release data on specific companies, but the top 10 companies commandeered 74 percent of total revenues. That share among the top 10 has remained relatively consistent, says the IAB. The elephant in the room is the fact that the top two — Facebook and Google — now make up the majority of that 74 percent.

During the webinar announcing the IAB report, Brian Wieser of Pivotal Research shared his analysis of Google and Facebook’s share of the market in the US. Acknowledging there are “a lot of assumptions” that go into these estimates and that his analysis is based on gross revenue, Wieser said, “It seems clear they are taking share. [Google and Facebook] probably accounted for 90 percent of the growth. The rest probably accounted for 10 percent or so.” Weiser pegs the duopoly’s share of US ad revenues at above 70 percent.

read more here: marketingland.com

YouTube TV, Is There a Path to Profit?

Like other virtual MVPDs, YouTube TV is a money-loser.

That’s the bad news. “Even worse, there doesn’t seem to be an obvious path to not losing money,” Bernstein analyst Todd Juenger explained in a Weekend Media Blast analysis on YouTube TV issued Friday. “The financial model doesn’t scale.”

YouTube TV doesn’t break down its financials publicly, but Juenger estimates that YouTube TV is losing about $5 per month per sub, but readily admits that the toughest assumption in making that calculation is the CPM on the product. Given the current, relatively small size of YouTube TV’s sub base, that’s not a material number for a deep-pocketed company like Google and its parent, Alphabet.

Even at 1 million subs, YouTube TV, which is also exposed to annual price inflators from programmers, would lose $60 million per year. “Not even a rounding error for Alphabet,” Juenger noted. “No analyst would even bother modelling it.”

But what if the losses grow to $10 per sub and YouTube TV pulls in 5 million subs. “Now we have a loss of — $600mm OI. Material yet? How about 10mm subs, now we exceed -$1bn in OI losses. Surely, what would catch investors’ attention.”

With that as the backdrop, it’s clear that YouTube TV’s financial overhang is greater the more successful it becomes from a subscriber basis.

“Google knows this. So what is their plan?” Juenger asks, holding that he doesn’t believe it’s their intention to lose money on every YouTube TV sub indefinitely.

Google hasn’t provided those details, but Juenger speculates on a handful of items – some more disruptive than others — that could be part its plot to improve the business as it moved further down the road:

1. Google believes consumers will “fall in love with the product,” giving it the green light to eventually raise the price enough to generate a profit. Notably, it already has raised the baseline price of YouTube TV following the recent addition of networks from Turner. But raising prices will be difficult, Juenger said, because of video competition and “reference points” from SVODs such as Netflix and Amazon.

2. Google believes its ad model will prove so superior, they will generate CPMs will in excess of what Bernstein has modeled, and spread across Google’s video inventory in a way that helps put YouTube TV in the black.

3. Google believes their advertising model will prove so superior, TV networks will turn over national inventory for Google to sell. But Juenger says it’s unlikely that networks will cede the rights to any of their premium inventory (or semi-premium or dubiously-premium inventory) to a third party.

4. Google believes they will gain enough subs and importance in the marketplace to push back on TV network price demand, and possibly drop overpriced or unwanted networks. Juenger points that that this one is probably folly, as no MVPD, virtual or otherwise, has been able to pull this off.

read more here: multichannel.com

Google’s Ambitious Ai-Backed Plans for Podcasts

Google has built a strong foothold in web search and video streaming, but it’s now looking to make audio its new forte with a reimagined podcast and audio search functionality.

Like Google co-founder Sergey Brin mentioned this week, Google is using its full AI and machine learning capability to transform a number of services. And it’s doing the same with podcasts, and how we listen to them.

Google Podcasts is now a standalone division at Google, being led by Product Manager Zack Reneau-Wedeen. He recently sat down with Pacific Content in a five-part interview series, which we have linked throughout our summary here. Here’s everything you need to know:

Making Audio A ‘First Class’ Citizen

There’s a podcasts category in Play Music, but Google sees podcasts as a dedicated product and has decided to give it a prominent placement in search results. The search giant wants to make audio a ‘first-class‘ citizen that should be placed next to text, images, and video in search results. This could be a game-changer.

Google wants to people to be able to play podcasts, right from the search results, removing the need for a dedicated app. If Google thinks a podcast is able to answer a search query then it’ll show that to users and try to get new listeners.

This means one could expect to see podcasts that have talked about your search topic, be it sports, music, movie or celebrities such as Kim Kardashian or Sachin Tendulkar over the next few weeks and months. This requires podcast metadata and Google has the power to decode and handle it all. Speaking of the same, Reneau-Wedeen says:

“In the longer term, integrating with Search means figuring out what each podcast is about and understanding the content of that podcast. This is something Google has done extremely well for text articles, as well as for images and even more structured data such as maps. We can help with audio, too.”

Podcasts in Search Results
Google has started acting on its plan and introduced a new native podcast section in its Google app on Android. It allows you to search for podcasts, showing them inline with all your results or directly queue them via Google Assistant using simple commands, such as “Hey Google, play the Vergecast podcast.”

The podcast section appears like a full-fledged app on its own, complete with your subscriptions and custom recommendations. The podcast player is baked right into the Google app and features your usual playback controls, along with seeking and speed control features.

Reneau-Wedeen said podcasts are more often consumed by iOS users and his team wanted to design a podcast experience that can work best on Android. At the same time, Google wants focus on device interoperability and wants to build an intuitive experience that’s consistent across all the Google products, be it Android or Google Home or any other Google Assistant product, and even on iOS. Reneau-Wedeen further added,

“Our team’s mission is to help double the amount of podcast listening in the world over the next couple years.”

Audio SEO & Monetisation

With audio getting prominent placement in search results, Google will tweak its algorithms to help listeners discover new podcasts while also defining guidelines that’ll help you rank your content higher in search. This is possibly going to be called Audio SEO.

Google already enables you to tinker with the settings to make your podcast appear in search results but there’s no audio SEO in place right now. This phase of the product is going to important when podcasts are finally able to give you an answer to your query, similar to the recently launched celebrity video answers in search.

read more here: beebom.com

Is Youtube Red Failing?

Alphabet just had its 2018 Q1 earnings call, but YouTube Red was barely mentioned. Could this be a sign that the company is distancing itself from the product?

Despite YouTube Red having been a high area of focus for the company in the past, the service barely received a mention on Alphabet’s Q1 2018 earnings call today. Aside from Google CEO Sindar Pichai saying the company will continue “invest further” in the service, nothing else was mentioned. While the snub doesn’t completely rule out the future of the SVOD service, it’s not a good sign when a company completely neglects mentioning a service that it has poured time and effort in. And this lack of mention is not new. In Alphabet’s Q4 2017 earnings call, the service wasn’t part of the scheduled conversation either.

This lack of mention could be a sign of things to come for the service, which has yet to really “take off” since launching in 2015. While the company has invested in developing a range of content from a Jake Paul Talk Show to a “Karate Kid” reboot, it has kept its spending on content at a minimum. Recently it was reported by Bloomberg that YouTube was hitting the pause button on its Hollywood expansion. According to the publication, Google has decided to hold spending at current levels for the streaming service over the next two years, people with knowledge of the matter said. YouTube only plans to spend a few hundred million dollars on TV shows and movies this year, according to the sources. While that sounds like a lot, as Bloomberg noted, a flat budget means the company risks falling further behind Netflix, Amazon and Facebook.

To make the case of YouTube Red more confusing, YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki recently referred to it as a music service, leaving many to ask the question: What’s going on with YouTube Red?

While the current state of Youtube Red is a bit hazy, regular old YouTube continues to be a key revenue driver for the company, according to Pichai, who also said that over the last year, channels earning six figures on the platform grew by 40%.

Going forward Pichai says the company will continue to invest in live content, which has worked well for the service. The CEO noted that Beyonce’s performance at Coachella was one of the most viewed live performances on the service.

Despite the company once again being in the spotlight this week for placing ads against inappropriate content, the issues weren’t directly mentioned in today’s earning call. But the Google CEO boasted that in Q4 of last year, over 6 million videos deemed inappropriate were removed from YouTube– 75% of which were taken down before getting a single view.

read more here: thevideoink.com

Report: Facebook and Google Are Losing Ad Dominance

A new report from eMarketer suggests that the Big 2 will experience dips in market share over the next few years.
According to a new eMarketer forecast, the Big 2, that is the top two companies in terms of digital advertising revenue, Google and Facebook, are expected to lose market share by 2021.

The duopoly enjoyed a combined share of U.S. digital ad spending of 58.5 percent in 2017, but this is anticipated to fall to 56.8 percent over the course of this year, translating into a nearly two percent loss. By 2020, this will drop an additional point and a half to 55.3 percent.

That said, eMarketer analysts anticipate a rebound beginning sometime in 2020. And beyond that, while their dominance will slightly decrease, both platforms are expecting to see significant revenue increases over the next several years.

Image via MediaPost

The declines are not a function of an overall decrease in digital ad spend; conversely, overall spending will hit $107 billion in 2018, reflecting a 19 percent increase Instead, The Wall Street Journal points to rivals like Amazon and Snapchat as the main reason, suggesting that advertisers are increasingly testing platforms outside of the Big 2 in their efforts.

What has not been factored into this estimate is marketers’ growing wariness toward the Big 2 with regards to brand safety and an increasingly alarming public perception that these properties have amassed too much power with little regulation from outside forces. These concerns have already made a financial impact on tech stocks as of late.

Following widespread public outcry in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, Facebook shares fell 8 percent in a single day. The news has sparked a far-reaching conversation about Facebook’s ability to monetize user data—and do so in a seemingly unfettered fashion.

Users have also taken to Twitter to announce their plans to #deletefacebook. One significant member of the movement has been WhatsApp co-founder Brian Acton. WhatsApp was acquired by Facebook in 2014 for $16 billion.

Google, and more specifically its video behemoth YouTube, are also on shaky terms with leading advertisers. With leading brands threatening to reduce spend on the platform, YouTube has had to revise and bolster its approach to brand safety.

read more here: www.thevideoink.com

Google says it will fix the online advertising crisis… but will it work?

by Enrique Dans

On Thursday, February 16, as part of its Coalition for Better Ads, Google launched an offensive it says will rid the internet of the worst of the many intrusive publicity formats the advertising industry has inflicted on users for years.

My impression is that Google is pretty much reprising its 2003 decision to introduce a function on its navigation bar to block pop-ups, thus protecting its main revenue stream, advertising, from short-sighted irresponsible companies. Advertising agencies, advertisers themselves, and many media, over time, have opted for anything goes strategies, utterly disregarding respect for a general public it assumes will put up with anything to get to the content we want. We can only count our blessings that some smart-assed developer didn’t come up with a way for ads to reach out of the screen and grab us by the throat, because some advertisers would undoubtedly have used it.

In 2003, the pop-up took us to a point of no return: by then, abuse of that format had made web browsing a misery. More recently, abuse of other intrusive formats and continuous tracking of users has prompted more and more people to install advertising blockers such as German Eye/o’s AdBlock Plus.

At the beginning of last year, the number of devices with advertising blockers installed already exceeded 236 million computers and 380 million smartphones worldwide, representing the largest boycott carried out by consumers in human history. Something had to be done, so Google went to work.

What’s changed since 2003? These were different times, and also a different Google.

In 2003, Google was a “nice” company, enjoying strong growth, with an incipient advertising model and a a positioning that allowed it to make its own decisions. Fifteen years later, Google is now the leading search engine, and along with Facebook, dominates display. Like a bull in the china shop of advertising, it tends to break things when it moves. Hence, its decision to take action has been carried out through the Coalition for Better Ads, the body it has set up bringing together ad agencies, advertisers and media to prevent an advertising apocalypse.

In 2003, Microsoft’s Internet Explorer was the main browser, one controlled by a company that, at that time, was anything but “nice”: it was engaged in a crusade to redefine web standards, to exclude competitors, and it noticed how some companies, Google among them, were dominating categories it wanted for itself. All Google could do was to develop a navigation bar that any user could install in their browser with certain blocking functions. Today, Google’s Chrome is the leading web browser, and so can pretty much do what it wants, and knowing that its actions will be felt immediately.

In 2003, Google was practically alone in trying to defend users from abusive advertising formats. Moreover, from what I know about the company, I firmly believe that the pop-up blockade was not entirely about protecting its revenue stream, but also by a genuine desire to improve the experience of its users. In 2018, the user landscape is completely different: those of us able to install an ad blocker consider Eye/o and other companies are allies in the fight against intrusive ad formats, vastly improving our browsing experience. Google’s relationship with Eye/o is bittersweet: on the one hand, it has financed it by paying for the inclusion of its advertising on the company’s white lists, while on the other, it has not asked it to join its Coalition for Better Ads and sometimes refers to its practices as “blackmail”.

Eye/o knows perfectly well that an advertising blocker is nothing without a good block list, and keeping that list updated requires costly supervision, charging whoever it can to meet those costs. Eye/o initiatives to define good practices in advertising have done much more for users than anything Google has done so far, and are much more tougher than the Coalition for Better Ads’ proposals. If you really appreciate your browsing experience, take my tip: keep your ad blocker installed both on your computer and your smartphone.

Google now finds itself in a position where, in 2018, it is being forced to negotiate with agencies, advertisers and media before making a move. It’s looking for a balance between these players and users, a balance that should have a much greater impact on practices that go beyond annoying formats. We will all appreciate being freed from formats such as the one above, aberrations such as pop-up, the interstitial, videos with preactivated sound or large and persistent advertisements, although some advertisements with animation or with distracting formats will remain, because many of the players in the coalition still believe in their heart of hearts that if an ad doesn’t annoy you, it’s because you haven’t noticed it”. And they will continue to install trackers for everything and at all times, because Google itself does. In short, for online advertising to really change, we need all parties to change their thinking.

Is Google going to be an honest broker here? Is it a good idea to have the largest advertising seller (whose global online ad business is bigger than the next five biggest combined), using its position as the owner of the largest web browser (four times the market share as the nearest competitor), to determine which ads are fit to be seen or not?

read more here: medium.com

Report: Facebook And Google Dominate As Video Ads Grow

A new study commissioned by cloud computing giant Salesforce shows that Google and Facebook continue to dominate the world of digital advertising, and are adapting as more and more marketers and advertisers turn to video.

According to Salesforce’s Digital Advertising 2020 Report, which the company officially unveiled Thursday morning, 65% of companies increased their video advertising budgets over the past year. And 52% of advertisers are choosing to produce their video ads in-house.

While video ad spend increases, Google and Facebook continue to dominate the overall digital ad spend landscape, with Salesforce estimating that over the next year, those two companies (and their subsidiaries Instagram and YouTube) will account for 66% of all digital advertising spend worldwide.

These same companies are also capturing the value of video. While Salesforce estimates that display ads, which it says account for 15% of the market, will decline over the next year to 14% of the market, YouTube, which currently accounts for 15% of the market, will rise to 16% of the market. In other words, as display ads decline in favor of video, Google is positioned to pick up those pieces.

The Salesforce report also found digital advertising and marketing are continuing to converge, with a majority of companies now using the same teams and budgets for both purposes. Brands are also overwhelmingly turning to data management platforms (DMPs) to manage the scale of their data, while figuring out the most effective way to share that data with partners.

And, while companies are still using traditional digital metrics like impressions, most are also beginning to use advanced metrics that allow for more sophisticated and long-term tracking.

Salesforce also predicted that artificial intelligence will become more prominent in advertising, driven in part by voice assistants like Amazon’s Alexa and Google Home. Almost three quarters of advertisers surveyed already advertise through voice assistants, or are planning to some time over the next year.

Ad-tech companies calling new Chrome browser a dictator

Google’s Chrome browser will automatically block certain ad formats, and that’s causing ad tech companies to scramble. The startup Parsec says it is completely shifting its business because of Google. Google says its actions are based on the recommendations of the Coalition For Better Ads, a cross-industry group focused on stemming the rise of ad-blocking Yet many in the digital ad industry aren’t clear on when these changes will take hold, what they need to do to prepare and who’s driving them.

Parsec, a three-year old startup, had found its niche. The company designed ads that people have to move out of the way with their finger order to keep reading a story on their mobile phone. The unique approach meant users would be forced to interact with an ad, instead of just letting it slip past as they read a story or click through a slideshow. The rough idea was that more people would be forced to stop and notice these ads, and ideally, they’d spend more time with them than the average banner.

Now, Parsec CEO Marc Guldimann says Google is blowing that business up.

Starting next year, when Google rolls out the latest version of its Chrome browser, those ads will be automatically blocked. It’s not just them. Also blocked are ads that automatically start blaring sound, and others like these that Google says make the experience of browsing the web worse. So Parsec is scrambling to ditch the old ad unit entirely – which means getting publishers, advertisers, and other business partners to run an entirely different, Chrome-approved, ad unit.

Here are the old Parsec ads:

Guldimann acknowledges that the company was always going to have to move away from ads that force interaction. But his complaint is that Google is using its massive power in the digital ad ecosystem, to play judge, jury, and executioner of ad-tech companies. He’s not clear, he says, on how Google made the decision it did or when and how it’ll be implemented.

“Right now, they are a benevolent dictator,” he said. “Let’s not joke ourselves. They own the browser. We’re playing in their world. They set the rules.”

Parsec isn’t alone in facing a sudden shift from a tech platform. Publishers too – especially those that had loaded up their sites with lots of videos that play automatically with sound- have to work out what the new Chrome restrictions will mean. Yet as the industry grapples with how to adapt to the coming changes next year, there’s loads of confusion over who is in charge, how the annoying ads will be identified and what the timeframe is for compliance. It all points to an uncomfortable position for Google, which is both a massive ad sales entity and the provider of the web’s most popular browser in the U.S.

Google says its just following the lead of the Coalition for Better Ads, a consortium of ad industry trade groups and big tech and media companies formed in September of last year.

The Coalition says it has conducted proprietary research on over 100 types of digital ads graded by 25,000 consumer respondents in the U.S. and Europe. That’s how it came up with dozen ad types that consumers find ‘annoying’ and that publishers should avoid. The list includes video ads that play automatically with sound and ads the cover more than a third of a person’s screen, for example.

It also includes “Full-Screen Scrollover ads,” or ads that “force a user to scroll through an ad that appears on top of content.” In other words, exactly the kind of ads Parsec bet the company on.

Google says with the coming Chrome update it’s just providing the hammer that the industry can use to apply these recommendations in one fell swoop. ” Thanks to the Better Ads Standards, the ad industry has 12 ad experiences that we know annoy Internet users and encourage people to opt out of ads entirely,” said a Google spokesperson.” Chrome has a long history of protecting users from annoying or harmful experiences. For example, like other browsers, Chrome blocks pop-ups in new tabs and shows warnings before malware pages. “

‘Uncomfortable’

Given the rise in popularity of ad blockers, it’s clear that digital advertising needs to clean up its act. Many ad insiders, though, aren’t wild about Google deciding what ads are ok and which are not.

In fact, several executives told Business Insider they are of the belief that Google is the driving force behind the Coalition, and that it is funding and dictating the effort. They speak as if the Coalition is Google.

Both Google and the Coalition say this is not the case.

Parsec is moving forward with new ads that the company hopes combine consumer interruption with consumer respect. Guldimann estimates the company is about halfway through its transition to Chrome friendly ads.

The new Parsec ads:

read more here:

https://www.businessinsider.nl/google-chrome-ad-blocking-forces-ad-tech-cos-to-abandon-business-2017-10/?international=true&r=US

Are Home Service Ads the death of home-based businesses on Google?

Google is expanding their Home Service Ads across more and more cities in the US, and some home-based business owners are worried. Columnist Joy Hawkins explains how this move impacts these businesses and what they can do to combat a loss of local search visibility.

If you are a local business that provides home services in the United States, you should be bracing yourself for what will happen when Home Service Ads roll out in your industry and market. The changes are vast and make a huge difference in who ranks in the local results on Google. When they first started expanding them last year in San Diego, it wiped out 89 percent of the listings in the local results.

There is no warning
Unlike other features, Google isn’t preannouncing where they plan on rolling these out. Currently, there isn’t even an updated help article. Google’s signup page is also inaccurate, as it only lists cities in California, even though they rolled out to Philadelphia, Atlanta, Phoenix and Seattle weeks ago.

Google has been extremely quiet about the entire thing, and although there has been no announcement, we’re also seeing the ads in Chicago and Jersey City.

Home-based businesses are removed from the local results

This update has a massive impact on home-based businesses, since it completely removes them from the local results — because they typically don’t have a publicly available storefront address. They have the option of paying to be included in the AdWords Home Service Ad pack, but if they don’t, they get shoved down in this list below all the paid ads (so basically invisible). As Mike Blumenthal puts it, this is where home-based businesses go to die.

I am also starting to see Google do this in markets where there are no Home Service Ads. Suddenly, all the listings with hidden addresses just with no explanation, according to posts on a discussion board where local SEOs gather.

There is a way out

If you’re a home-based business and are losing sleep wondering when this will roll out to your industry and city, it’s time to start planning ahead. One solution that these service-area businesses have been using to survive this is to turn their home into a storefront.

If you’re reading that and think it sounds like nonsense — so did I, at first. After all, how on earth is a home a storefront? When I think of a storefront, I think of a Best Buy or a Walmart.

According to Google’s guidelines, here is what you would need to do to be eligible to show your address (aka be a “storefront”) on your Google My Business listing:

– The location must be staffed (your staff, not someone else’s) during office hours.
– The location must have permanent, onsite signage that is viewable from the street.

According to one of the locksmiths on this thread in the Google My Business advertiser community:

“When I contacted Google and explained my situation, they told me it was fine to display my address as long as there was signage outside which there now is, I also am now fully equipped to cut keys out of my location and uploaded pictures of my workshop and signage. Between my son or wife or myself there is always someone here. I don’t see how any guidelines are being broken as I serve people out both my location and their location. Just yesterday I cut mailbox keys for a client that stopped by here along with a few other random customers who have stopped by here in recent days to get safety deposit boxes opened and miscellaneous projects. I am here, I am real and staffed.”
Another locksmith addressed the issue of staffing at a home location by clarifying:

“I also explained [to Google] that I do need to leave the location for emergency calls. In those cases I have two way outdoor cameras so I can still greet clients while on the road and let them know how long their wait will be in those rare cases. For the most part, my wife is at home all the time to greet customers in house and tend to basic locksmithing needs. The GMB rep said this was fine and that these arrangements do comply with their terms.”
I double-checked with Google myself, and they confirmed both those cases are fine.

As a joke, some of us thought it would be funny to ask Google if the business below qualifies as a storefront after they taped their business card to their door.

Google said it would not since the sign is not permanent and isn’t visible from Street View. Similarly, a listing in an apartment building would probably get removed since it would be almost impossible for them to have an external sign.

It seems Google’s end goal here isn’t to screw over home-based businesses but to get a better handle on all the spam that exists in these industries. By forcing businesses to be public about where they are located, it makes it much harder for lead generation companies to create listings for “businesses” that don’t actually exist.

read more here:

http://searchengineland.com/home-service-ads-death-home-based-businesses-google-282910?utm_campaign=socialflow&utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social