Adblock Plus: Google's new Chrome ad blocker will only block 17% of online ads

Kim White/MSNBCGoogle chief executive Sundar Pichai.
  • Google is due to release an in-built adblocker for its Chrome browser in February, which will stop users seeing the most irritating types of ads.
  • Rival adblocker Adblock Plus has released research showing that Chrome’s filter will only block around 17% of ads.
  • The most hardcore users who block ads probably won’t be satisfied with Chrome’s new tool, which is more like a filter.

Google is due to update Chrome in February with a built-in ad blocker that will filter out some of the most annoying types of online ads.

But according to research from a rival adblocker, Adblock Plus, Chrome’s new filter will only block about 17% of ads online.

Adblock Plus looked at 55 different types of ads, and found Chrome will allow 83% through, including some that a normal user might consider irritating.

Three rail ads Adblock PlusBusiness Insider/Adblock PlusChrome will allow some ads even when they take up lots of the screen

Google’s filter, for example, will allow flashing, animated ads as long as they don’t interfere with the text of an article. Adblock Plus doesn’t. You can see an example of that kind of ad here.

Chrome’s filter will also block full-page pop-up ads that load for five seconds before you can access an article. You can see an example here.

Chrome’s filter won’t block similar ads that let you immediately skip past the ad, however, such as those that appear on Forbes’ site.

Forbes ad blockBusiness InsiderChrome’s new adblocking filter will allow full-page ads that you can immediately skip

Adblock Plus, by comparison, is much stricter about the ads it blocks. Anything that pops up, “disrupts” the reader midway through an article, or expands over an article is not permitted. Adblock Plus does allow some types of ad, however, like “static” ads that sit off to the side of an article.

Adblock Plus does have a vested interest here. There are 2 billion Chrome browsers in active use between mobile and desktop, and it’s by far the most popular web browser. Adblock Plus is mostly used by people who install its third-party plugin on their browsers. So if all the users of the most popular browser suddenly decide to switch to Google’s in-built tool, Adblock Plus faces a significant decline in usage.

There’s also adblocking politics at play. Chrome’s filter determines which annoying ads to block according to standards set by the Coalition of Better Ads, a recently established independent body whose members comprise big publishers like News Corp, agency groups such as Omnicom, and tech players such as Google and Facebook. You might wonder why Google, which relies heavily on ads to make money, would delve into adblocking at all – but industry experts told Business Insider it’s about maintaining control over the ecosystem.

Meanwhile Adblock Plus’ parent, Eyeo, set up and spun out a rival industry body called the Acceptable Ads Committee which has been considerably less successful. Adblock Plus blocks ads according to that committee’s standards, but has struggled to persuade publishers and other tech firms to follow suit. Part of the reason is that Adblock Plus will allow some ads through, as long as advertisers pay up.

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