Google To Expand ‘About This Ad’ Information Snippet To Include More Information About Advertisement Publisher And Boost Transparency

Google is attempting to boost transparency and help web users with more information about the advertisements that are served while surfing the internet. The search giant and advertising management platform has promised it will include more information about the ads when users click the ‘Why this ad’ button that’s included in a tiny triangular clickable ‘AdChoices’ icon above the promotional messages.

Google has confirmed that it will offer new tools to provide users with more information about the ads that they see. The company claims the new tools are part of its ongoing efforts to become more transparent and increase privacy choices. Google claims the additional controls are meant to increase transparency around how digital advertising works.

Google Launches ‘Ads Transparency Spotlight’ Extension And Expands ‘About This Ad’ Information Snippet:

Google has long included a rather small clickable triangular icon atop all ads that are served through its ad network. The ‘Why this add’ offered basic information explaining why it displayed that ad. Now Google has revamped and renamed the feature to ‘About This Ad’ and confirmed it will expand the information shown to try and boost transparency for users who might be getting a bit freaked out by the relevancy of ads.

‘About this ad’ will initially be available for display ads purchased through Google Ads and Display and Video 360, and the company will bring it to other ad surfaces throughout 2021, confirmed Mike Schulman, VP, Ads Privacy and Safety, at Google.

The AdChoices is a small triangular icon that accompanied all Google ads. Google has indicated that over 15 million users interacted with the tiny clickable button every single day. The page that the users landed on after clicking on AdChoices will soon be called “About this ad.”

How Does The Newly Revised AdChoices ‘About This Ad’ Help Boost Transparency?

The newly revised ‘About this ad’ landing page will have several new ways to gain information and execute some actions. After a small preview of the advertisement in question, the “Why this ad?” bullet points follow. Below the same, Google has included two explicit buttons to “Report this ad” and “Block this ad.” The latter capability is essentially a rebrand of the existing option to ‘Mute this ad’, with Google hoping that it will be clearer to users.

Below the aforementioned information, Google will now include “About the advertiser” section that provides the name and location (country) of the party responsible for pushing the promotional material. This follows Google’s earlier announcement that it would require advertiser identity verification on all advertising. The densely packed information snippet will also include Google Ad Settings which will take users to the personalized page where there are multiple settings pertaining to the way advertisements are served.

[Image Credit: Google via Neowin]
The new methodology is quite identical to the earlier model, but Google claims it has tweaked the system to make the entire process more straightforward and transparent. In addition to the revised ‘About this ad’ landing page, Google is also releasing a Chrome extension that provides “people with detailed information about all the ads they see on the web.” There are four key capabilities:

  • View detailed information about the ads on a web page
  • View a list of ad providers responsible for delivering ads to the page
  • View all companies and services that have a presence on the page (for example, content delivery networks or analytics providers), regardless of who has implemented the schema.
  • View the reasons why ads are shown on a page

The abovementioned methodology is in the alpha stage of development and only shows the information on ads purchased through the Google Ads network that implemented the Disclosure Schema. Google has assured more features will be included based on user feedback.

Apart from these attempts to boost transparency, Google is also proposing a few new APIs (Application Program Interfaces) for trust tokens that could combat ad fraud by distinguishing between bots and real users. There’s also a Privacy Sandbox initiative to enhance user privacy while still gaining data useful for improving ad serving mechanisms.

Alap Naik Desai
A B.Tech Plastics (UDCT) and a Windows enthusiast. Optimizing the OS, exploring software, searching and deploying solutions to strange and weird issues is Alap's main interest.