Google says goodbye to accidental mobile ad clicks


Publishers may experience a decrease in mobile ad clicks over the coming months as Google makes some changes to its ad offering on Android devices.

The tech giant is trying to eliminate accidental clicks. Since most people tend to click the sides of an ad accidentally when trying to scroll down to more content or close an ad taking up the screen, the tech company is making the borders of an ad on smartphones and tablets unclickable. Now, consumers have to click a more central spot in the ad to open the content, Google said in a blog post announcing the change.

Google is also blocking clicks on app install icons; meaning consumers won't be able to click on the app icon of an install ad when it's in close proximity to the close button. Instead, readers will tap call-to-action button on the screen to visit the app store.

Finally, it's adding a click delay, making ads clickable only once they've been on screen for a short amount of time “ specifically done to prevent pop up ads being clicked before a reader realizes they're hitting an ad.

While this may seem frustrating for publishers, this is actually a positive move. Digital ad management platform GoldSpot Media found 50% of ad clicks on mobile are accidents, with people spending less than two seconds with the content.

This means consumers aren't actually absorbing the advertising info and the accidental ad clicks are simply disrupting the reading process. In fact, a Forrester study from 2012 found 70% of consumers find the interruptive ads annoying.

For advertisers, this means while their click-through rates might be high; the actual sales conversion is low “ it's hard to engage with content when you backtrack immediately after clicking, after all. And this is bad news for publishers, driving down the price of ad inventory because there is a perception that mobile ads don't work.

Google's changes might actually mean a boost for your advertiser's bottom lines: it reported ads that implemented these features during the testing phase saw a 15% conversion lift. The more effective you can make ads, the more publishers can charge for qualified click-throughs and ad placement. In the quest to make mobile ads more effective, everybody wins.