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Google's introducing three new ad formats for AdSense, its ad placement service that serves millions of advertisers globally. The new formats are "native" ad formats, meaning they are highly customizable to match the look and feel of a publishers' content, and are very mobile-friendly.

From a user perspective, native formats can make for a less intrusive experience, although can sometimes be confused with content if not properly labeled. From a publisher perspective, the updates will make it easier to create ads for different screen sizes.

Why it matters: Google has been aggressively pushing efforts to improve the user ad experience on its platform, including these new ad units, but some search engine optimization experts argue the changes will only further bury publishers' organic content on its platform.

"Many of Google's algorithm changes this year have negatively impacted the traffic to websites with quality issues," says Len Raleigh, CEO at SEO and content marketing strategy firm Telapost. "Used excessively, I believe the new AdSense ads could potentially cause quality issues on publisher's pages, leading to a loss of traffic."

More about the new formats below.

  • In-feed: Ads that fit neatly inside publishers' feeds. (Feeds are lists of articles or products on a websites.) These ads can be customized to match the look and feel of your content. (Available to all publishers)
  • In-article: Native ads that run between the paragraphs of a publishers' page. These full-width ads are meant to help publishers monetize smaller screen spaces, making them ideal for mobile. (Available to all publishers)
  • Matched content: A content recommendation tool that helps publishers promote content to visitors, to create additional revenue opportunities. (Available to some publishers)

Go deeper

26 mins ago - Podcasts

Podcast: After the Biden inaugural

Joe Biden was sworn in today as America's 46th president in an inauguration unlike any other in modern history.

Axios Re:Cap goes deeper into the speech, the atmosphere and what it all tells us about the incoming administration, with Axios political reporters Hans Nichols and Alexi McCammond.

Biden embarks on a consequential presidency

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Donald Trump tried everything to delegitimize the rival who vanquished him. In reality, he's set Joe Biden on course to be a far more consequential U.S. president than he might otherwise have become.

The big picture: President Biden now confronts not just a pandemic, but massive political divisions and an assault on truth — and the aftermath of the assault on the Capitol two weeks ago that threatened democracy itself.

Updated 58 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Inauguration Day dashboard

U.S. Capitol and stage are lit at sunrise ahead of the inauguration of Joe Biden. Photo: Patrick Semansky - Pool/Getty Images

President Biden has delivered his inaugural address at the Capitol, calling for an end to the politics as total war but warning that "we have far to go" to heal the country.

What's next: Representatives from all branches of the military escort the 46th president to the White House.