free html hit counter Google's "Mute" Button: Why Didn't I Think Of That? Oh, Wait... - John Battelle's Search Blog

Google’s “Mute” Button: Why Didn’t I Think Of That? Oh, Wait…

By - June 30, 2012

One of my pet peeves about our industry is how slowly we change – I understand it takes a long time to gather consensus (it took three years to get AdChoices rolled out, for example) – but man, why don’t the big players, like Google, innovate a bit more when it comes to display advertising?

Well, yesterday Google did just that, announcing a “mute this ad” feature that it will roll out across its network over the next few months. The feature does what you might expect it to do – it stops a particular ad from “following” you around the web. It will look like this:

 

As you can see, the “mute this ad” is right next to the AdChoice icon, adding a bit more clutter to the creative, but also, more control for consumers, in particular those who find the practice of “retargeting” irritating.

All I can say is, it’s about time. Back in August of 2010, I wrote about my own experience: On Retargeting: Fix The Conversation. In the post, I suggested:

…as I’ve said a million times, marketing is a conversation. And retargeted ads are part of that conversation. I’d like to suggest that retargeted ads acknowledge, with a simple graphic in a consistent place, that they are in fact a retargeted ad, and offer the consumer a chance to tell the advertiser “Thanks, but for now I’m not interested.” Then the ad goes away, and a new one would show up.

Well, it looks like Google has gotten with the program. Of course, Facebook already has that “X” on all of its display ads, but so far, retargeting hasn’t come to Facebook – yet. Watch that space, because I gotta believe it will soon.

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13 thoughts on “Google’s “Mute” Button: Why Didn’t I Think Of That? Oh, Wait…

  1. I’d like a “Mute this Result” in Google search, and a “Mute this Source” in Google Reader (some RSS subscriptions are for topics, not by source).

  2. KMB says:

    On a lower level it also suggests: “Please don’t use ad-blockers, because you can choose which ad we will show you.”

  3. billsaysthis says:

    Oddly not on the ads I see on this blog though… Will FM implement this capability oon?

  4. This feature benefits advertisers as well given that it allows their campaigns to be more targeted only at those who show actual interest in their ads. 

  5. it fits with the view that some people have that the future of the web will involve people having more say in what they get exposed to. It makes complete sense to me that the user gets the opportunity to retarget an ad – this should provide valuable information to the advertisers and allow for better targeting in the future

  6. SG says:

    Wow, thanks for posting this. I am glad we are cluttering up the creatives now with even more options which are, well, redundant and misleading to say the least.

    The “X” to me and many others who have used computers would imply that I am closing out the creative, it is gone, I will no longer see that creative box. But in this case, it is just a matter of opting out of a-specific-campaign.

    The OBA compliance icon atleast denotes additional information, why create a new standard now Google? Just to show some kind of “innovation”? This just annoys me unless I am totally out of whack in understanding what Google just introduced…

  7. Ad blockers have been hurting free and paid ad markets for awhile now. KMB is right that Google is probably playing reverse psychology on this and hoping users would rather mute the ads they don’t like than rely on ad blockers. Either way, this helps Google optimize ad serving based on user preference.

    • Anonymous says:

      This feels like more of a win win, in terms of using a signal from us to make the ecosystem better.

  8. SBP Romania says:

    It may not be much, but i think it’s great to be able to mute an ad, and also it empowers users (or so it seems).

  9. Kuladip Roy says:

    Some good logo also attracts more consumer, thanks for this post if we have re targeted ad then we communicates with our consumer it helps for business communication.