Starting from next year Google will rank pages with intrusive pop-up ads lower than similar pages without interstitials. Google wants to rank those sites that give the user the best experience.

What is an interstitial?

Interstitials are advertisements that load in between pages of content.

Interstitials fall in the category of interruption marketing.

A typical example would be pop-up ads or full-page ads that disrupts your journey.

pop-up ads

Why are interstitial ads used?

Pop-up ads traditionally convert very well, with high engagement and enhanced cost per thousand impressions (CPM).

Pop-up backlash

Even with the higher than average conversion rates, most people find this type of advertising annoying to say the least. Pop-up ads on mobile can be even more intrusive. With more and more people moving away from desktop and onto mobile, Google are trying to future proof their users experience. Mobile friendly sites ranking higher in search engine results pages (SERPS) is another example of this.

What types of pop-up ads will be affected?

Here are some examples of techniques that make content less accessible to a user:

  • Showing a popup that covers the main content, either immediately after the user navigates to a page from the search results, or while they are looking through the page.
  • Displaying a standalone interstitial that the user has to dismiss before accessing the main content.
  • Using a layout where the above-the-fold portion of the page appears similar to a standalone interstitial, but the original content has been inlined underneath the fold.

These pop-ups are OK

Not all pop-ups will be punished, for example those pop-ups that need to verify someone’s age will still be OK because these are a legal requirement.

Here are some more examples:

  • Login dialogs on sites where content is not publicly indexable. For example, this would include private content such as email or unindexable content that is behind a paywall.
  • Banners that use a reasonable amount of screen space and are easily dismissible. For example, the app installs banners provided by Safari and Chrome are examples of banners that use a reasonable amount of screen space.

Publishers are less likely to be happy with the change, as they would argue that this will negatively affect their ad revenue.

For the latest digital updates follow Cite on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook