This past February, Google launched a built-in ad blocker for its desktop and mobile versions of Chrome. The first iteration of this ad-blocking technology targeted ads that weren’t compliant with the Better Ads Standards. Google claimed that roughly 1% of publishers would be affected, and as a result, most users didn’t notice a drastic change in their online experience.

But just a few weeks later, Google announced that it would take this ad-blocking to another level by blocking autoplaying videos with unmuted audio by default. Considering that 60% of developers stopped going to a website because of advertising in the past month, this should come as good news to developers around the world.
So what does this new feature mean for you? Will it drastically change your online experience in more ways than Google’s initial built-in ad blocker? Let’s take a closer look at the upcoming update to Google Chrome, and how advertisers might adjust their strategies to reach developers as a result.

What Google’s New Ad-Blocking Policy Means for You

According to Google’s official announcement of this new media feature, autoplaying videos will only be allowed in Chrome under three conditions:

  1. The media won’t play sound.
  2. The user has previously clicked or tapped on the site.
  3. A desktop user has previously shown an interest in media on the site.

The end-goal of this update, according to Google? A reduction of unexpected video playbacks with sound when first opening a web page. Liam Tung at ZDNet reports that while The Coalition for Better Ads is already tackling auto-playing video ads, this update to Chrome will target all video content. Tung also says, “Google outlined in January that part of its motivation for getting tougher on autoplay video was to reduce the incentives to install ad blockers.”
Software developers have always been a challenging target audience for advertisers. They want marketers to advertise to them on their own terms—and when they don’t, programmers have the technical ability to block the ads they don’t want to see. So it should come as no surprise that in the 2018 State of Developer Engagement report, 72% of developers said that they use ad blockers.
Google’s initiative to reduce the need for ad-blocking software is admirable. But when it comes to advertising to developers, will this help marketers reach their target audience? Will it be enough to block autoplay videos with sound? More importantly, how do developers really feel about ad blocking technology?

How Do Developers Feel About Ad Blockers?

Sure, a vast majority of developers used ad blockers. But 70% of our survey respondents also said that they disabled their ad blockers in the past month.
You’d have a difficult time finding a developer that is upset about Google’s new approach to autoplay video content. At the same time, the software development community isn’t particularly attached to the idea of using theirs at all costs.
Alec Gorge, a Developer at Stack Overflow, recently told us that advertisers just need to ask programmers to disable their ad blockers. “As long as the request isn’t invasive, I don’t mind when I’m asked to turn off an ad blocker,” he adds. “Of course, there are some websites that will replace their ads with a sob story about why they need to monetize. Personally, I don’t respond well to that.”
That begs a simple question: Before Google launched its built-in ad blocker, what convinced developers to stop using ad blockers? “Messages asking me to turn off ad blockers are most effective when they make promises,” Gorge said. “I don’t need all the details, but some advertisers have found ways to push the envelope. I want to be sure that the ads that I’ll see won’t be annoying.”
With that in mind, it’s clear that Google is taking some exciting steps to eliminate the need for ad blockers. But only time will tell if the solution is this simple, or if users will need more convincing before they uninstall their preferred online ad blocking software.

About the Author:

Rich Moy is a Content Marketing Writer at Stack Overflow, where he covers the latest in tech recruiting and developer engagement. When he’s not writing, Rich can be found hanging with his wife, watching his favorite college football team with his dad, or running around Manhattan in preparation for his next marathon.

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