“Mute This Ad” – Good or Bad?

What is “Mute This Ad?”

Over the last few weeks, Google has given us a peek at a new feature they rolled out – the ability for users to “Mute This Ad.” Users are able to “mute” an ad by clicking on a small [x] icon that appears in the upper right-hand corner. After clicking on the icon, users receive a confirmation that the ad has been “muted” and they will no longer see the ads from that particular campaign. However, Google is still working a few things out and does not guarantee that the user will never see the ad again – it could still show if it is in a different campaign or advertised by a different company. For now, this feature is limited to only remarketing and interest category ads on the Google Display Network.

What Does This Mean for Users and Advertisers?

Let’s break it down.

For users, this means having the ability to get rid of ads that you are not interested in or are not relevant to what you are looking for. This means having a higher level of control. And if Google implements a way for users to rate the relevancy of ads after choosing to mute it, it can only improve the quality of ads users will see in the future.

On the other side of the fence, the feature allows advertisers to limit ads shown to people who are simply not interested in what they’re offering or won’t end up converting. It could also lead to some negative expansion ideas and other ways to improve quality of traffic and increased CTRs depending on what kinds of metrics and data Google decides to provide (currently advertisers are not provided any metrics for their “mutable” ads.

There are some questions we need to ask ourselves as both Google users and AdWords advertisers. The main question is whether or not the feature is advantageous for the way you use Google. Some users will take advantage of the feature, but most likely many will simply ignore it. Some may mute the ad by accident when attempting to click the ad, while others may click the ad by accident when attempting to mute it. Does an advertiser get charged for a click when their ad is muted? What about when a user accidentally clicks the ad when attempting to mute it? And what does this mean for advertisers who market based on brand awareness goals and high impression volumes, rather than clicks and lead generation? How does this work for multiple, separate users on the same IP address. Is it too customer centric?

“…we believe it’s an early step in the right direction of giving users control over ads, while helping marketers and websites deliver ads that perform better. We believe this early-look feature can bring benefits to the entire ecosystem: users have a way to control their experience and signal that they aren’t interested in certain ads; advertisers are no longer paying to show ads to people who aren’t interested; and publishers will receive better performing (and potentially more valuable) ads, and spend less time filtering out ads they think won’t be of interest to their audience.”

One thing we can all agree on – we can only hope that Google will take all this – the pros and the cons – into consideration before doing a full feature launch and pushing it out to all ads. Depending on how Google takes “mutes” into account when showing future ads to a specific user, it could be a game changer for advertisers and users alike.


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