Google will begin to block autoplay video adverts with sound switched on by default as of January 2018. Although many consumers will applaud the move given just how annoying such ads can be on mobile devices, there have been fears that it plays right into the hands of an ad giant trying to become a monopoly.
As part of the Coalition for Better Ads, Google has focused on ensuring a smoother web experience for mobile device owners. That includes getting rid of annoying advertising formats such as those taking over the entire screen or autoplay videos.
According to a blog post on Thursday, autoplay will be enabled as long as the sound is disabled or users choose to view an ad in Chrome 64. Meanwhile, users will receive an option to completely disable audio for Chrome 63.
Whilst this decision evidently benefits the end user, the implications for advertisers already suffering a blow due to the usage of ad blockers, could be negative. The Internet is free because of advertising and if ads are blocked ultimately that free content may become subscription-only.
Over the coming months, it will become more important for Google to create a fine balance between pleasing its users and advertisers. The company is expected to generate $73.8 billion in advertising this year. It represents 33% of digital ad spend worldwide.
Google may be the only ad network (apart from Facebook) large enough to enforce more user-friendly ad standards. If ads are less annoying then surely users won’t need ad blockers, or so the theory goes.
The real problem with the company’s latest move is that Google can now create its own white list of publishers. That’s where the industry experts have raised a red flag. It has the potential to turn Google into a powerful monopoly. Whilst ad blockers may not be the way forward, Google white lists may be even more restrictive.