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Dear pop-up ad creators,

Sorry, but it’s over.

You must have seen it coming. In fact, everyone’s been talking about the reasons why they thought it would end sooner. It’s time to move on to smarter ways of advertising.

The mobile pop-up ad movement is failing because: 

  • It’s too redundant. Nearly every website with a pop-up ad also has a big red “buy” or “subscribe” button that’s almost always at the top of the screen in front of your face.
  • Ironically, pop-up ads push us away while pretending to be friendly and personal. If you’re really terrified that I’ll leave your website after two seconds, at which time you shove a pop-up ad at me, then I’ll only run away from your website faster.
  • They advertise the wrong thing in the wrong way and at the wrong time. No one wants to see irrelevant ads blocking the information that they’re looking for.

Google is taking a stand, and it’s about time.

The Google pop-up ban will roll out on January 10, 2017. The Google Webmaster blog explains what that means:

“Pages that show intrusive interstitials provide a poorer experience to users than other pages where content is immediately accessible. This can be problematic on mobile devices where screens are often smaller. To improve the mobile-search experience, after January 10, 2017, pages where content is not easily accessible to a user on the transition from the mobile-search results may not rank as highly.”

How does it work?

Google’s penalizing three specific types of pop-up ads on mobile devices. You’ve seen them before, but check out the examples:

Examples of interstitials that make content less accessible (BANNED)

not allowed

Google will cause websites to rank lower in search results if their pop-up ads hide the main content on the page immediately after the user arrives or while they’re browsing through a page.

Google also doesn’t rank websites well if they have any standalone pop-up ads that force visitors to dismiss them before reading the website’s main content. Any other pop-up ads that block the reading of content are also likely to get penalties from Google’s new search-engine algorithm as well.

However, you can avoid Google penalties and keep rising up in the ranks of search-engine results if you advertise smarter. For example, using banner ads that don’t take up the whole screen of a mobile device is still permissible because visitors can easily dismiss them, and they don’t totally wreck the user’s experience.

According to Google, if used responsibly, these interstitials examples can still be used and won’t be affected by the ban:

Examples of interstitials that make content less accessible (ALLOWED)


So now you know, whether you have interstitials which are already working on mobile or you are planning to include this practice, always think about what’s best for the user and provides an amazing experience.


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