Mobilegeddon 2: Attack of the Mobile Ads

January 2017 return of mobilegeddon sees blitz on intrusive mobile adverts

Mobilegeddon 2 Blog Post Image
Stand By For Action: the much-vaunted Mobilegeddon 2 will deliver an improved user experience by early-2017. Image by Vasabii (via Shutterstock).

Monday, 10 January 2017 is set to be an important date for web developers all over the world. From that day forward, Google is about to unleash its second most significant algorithm update since April 2015. April 2015’s update – dubbed as Mobilegeddon – was the first Google update to up the ante on websites that use responsive web design.

Almost eighteen months on, mobilegeddon nudged businesses and individuals into building mobile-friendly websites. Today, 85% of websites fulfil Google’s mobile-friendly criteria. More than ever, mobile friendliness is a prerequisite of any newly-built website. More and more pages are viewed on smartphones and tablets. So much so, they have provided rich pickings for online advertising opportunities.

As a consequence, interstitials and the use of pop-up advertising have become more of a menace. Especially on smartphones with modest resolutions. It is this scourge which has prompted the arrival of Mobilegeddon’s kid brother. The 10 January 2017 could be a Blue Monday for some advertisers and web developers.

A pop at the pop-ups

On the Google Webmaster Central blog post dated 23 August 2016, Google has stated its intention to clamp down on the misuse of pop-up ads and interstitials. They have hit out at:

  • Pop-ups which cover the whole smartphone or tablet screen, after s/he clicks on the listed site;
  • Standalone interstitials where users have to click on the box prior to getting to their desired pages;
  • Clashing layouts, where the above-the-fold portion of the page looks like an interstitial ad.
Three Evils of Interstitial Ads
Three Evils of Interstitial Ads: image courtesy of Google Webmaster Central blog.

Google’s purge on the pop-ups next year could be a popular one with the average internet user. Though Mobilegeddon 2 could be high noon for pop-ups, there will be some easements. For a brewery website, they will be exempt, if similar technologies are used for age verification. Likewise with cookie usage statements.

Interstitial Ads Good Practice
Good Practice: how interstitial boxes should be used. Source: Google Webmaster Central blog.

We think Google’s proposals are a sensible one. If you’re trying to catch up with current affairs or lengthy articles, there is nothing worse than a pop-up that covers the whole of your smartphone or digital tablet screen. Perhaps calling it Mobilegeddon 2 may be a bit harsh but, on a user level, it is a worthwhile development.

As for the advertisers, or any webmaster that wishes to monetise their website, the update won’t affect banner adverts. So long as they don’t fill the entire screen.

Net Sixty Six, 05 September 2016