Google announced on Tuesday it will punish websites that serve “intrusive” full-page ads and pop-ups on their mobile sites by downgrading them in its mobile search rankings.
“Pages that show intrusive interstitials provide a poorer experience to users than other pages where content is immediately accessible,” the company said in a blog post.
This seems fair enough. It’s frustrating when you’re reading an article on your mobile and the text is suddenly obstructed with an ad. Sometimes you’ll click away from that site altogether. It also follows Google’s move last year to downgrade mobile sites that serve annoying full-page ads that ask users to download an app.
But what’s kind of strange is that Google actually serves full-page interstitial ads itself.
At the time, Google’s director of product management Jonathan Alferness explained the format would be welcomed by users and advertisers because they were similar to what people expect from TV.
He told AdAge: “This idea that a user’s in the middle of some environment [and] at a logical break point they should see or will see advertising is not particularly jarring to users.”
Google still continues to offer interstitial ads on its AdMob mobile app advertising network now, which seems a little odd. Is a full-page interstitial ad less intrusive you see it in an app compared to the mobile web?
Google did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Jonathan Beeston, managing director at UK based digital advertising agency Croud, has a theory on why this might be.
He told Business Insider: “I guess Google sees high bounce rates [people clicking into a site, then almost immediately ‘bouncing’ away from it] from sites with interstitials, and that makes for a bad consumer experience for search. It’s not the same thing as in-app, as Google search hasn’t sent the user there.”
Whether this is the case or not, it’s certainly inconsistent.
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