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Google releases ‘Ads Transparency Spotlight’ extension, rolling out tweaked ‘About this ad’

Google ads have long featured a “Why this ad” feature that explains some of the reasons a particular piece of advertising content was served to a user. Over the coming months, the functionality is seeing several tweaks and will soon be called “About this ad,” while Google today unveiled an Ads Transparency Spotlight extension for Chrome.

Accessed by tapping the triangular “AdChoices” icon in the top-right corner, the company says there are “over 15 million user interactions per day.” The page that users open will soon be called “About this ad.”

After a preview of the advertisement in question, the “Why this ad?” bullet points follow, while there are now two explicit buttons to “Report this ad” and “Block this ad.” The latter capability is essentially a rebrand of the existing option to mute ads, with Google hoping that it will be clearer to users.

Next is an “About the advertiser” section that provides the name and location (country) of the party responsible. This follows Google earlier this year announcing that it would require advertiser identity verification on all advertising. Lastly, the card will also link to your Google Ad Settings.

The underlying functionality is mostly unchanged but has been tweaked to be more straightforward. About this ad will first be available for display advertising from Google Ads and Display & Video 360 over the “next few months” before expanding to all surfaces in 2021.

Meanwhile, to further increase transparency, Google is 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

It’s currently in alpha — only showing information on ads purchased through the Google Ads network that implemented the Disclosure Schema, and Google plans to add more features based on user feedback. 

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Avatar for Abner Li Abner Li

Editor-in-chief. Interested in the minutiae of Google and Alphabet. Tips/talk: