Oct 5, 2017

Google adds filters to block spammy, racy ads

Publishers have been pushing for access to Google user data insights. Photo: AP file

Google is introducing two new categories of ad filters, powered by machine learning, that publishers can use to block automated ads from their sites. "Publishers have indicated that they sometimes want to block particular types of [advertisements] because of the way they could affect their brands," Google's Director of Product Management Scott Spencer told reporters in Chicago Tuesday.

Sensational/tabloid ad filter: Will block ads that often look like click-bait. They feature celebrities, aliens, characters talking about some fictitious nonsense, etc. These types of ads don't necessarily always violate Google's policies, but the company wants to give publishers the control to have more mature creative — filtering out click bait.

Suggestive ad filter: Will block ads that are risqué or feature racy images, using machine learning technology that can identify how much skin is exposed.

Google has also rolled out an ad-blocking feature called "funding choices" which is a tool for publishers to communicate with users who have an ad blocker and ask to either:

  1. Be white-listed, or added to a list of approved publishers that they can be served ads by (or)
  2. Ask users to pay to buy an ads-free pass

Spencer says they have seen white list rates up to 15% in the first scenario and 30% in the second.

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