Google has long made it possible for users of YouTube to skip ads. Now, it’s adding that capability to the Display Network, letting people hit an “X” to dismiss, or mute, the currently-displaying ad.

Google says it will use the signal as a way to deliver more relevant ads to consumers. Once a person mutes a certain ad, he or she will no longer see ads from that campaign. After the ad is muted, the user sees a confirmation, which leads them — if they click — to Google’s Ads Preferences manager, where they may further fine-tune Google’s profile of them.

The new feature should be especially welcome for the many people who complain about retargeting and remarketing campaigns, saying they feel like certain ads are “following” them around the web. Indeed, Google is first making this capability available for ads based on remarketing or interest categories.

“We believe this early-look feature can bring benefits to the entire ecosystem: users have a way to control their experience and signal that they aren’t interested in certain ads,” wrote Michael Aiello, a Google product manager, on the Inside AdWords Blog. “Advertisers are no longer paying to show ads to people who aren’t interested; and publishers will receive better performing (and potentially more valuable) ads.”

The change would seem to be fairly benign for advertisers, preventing their ads from being shown to people who are not interested — and avoiding sparking further negative brand associations that may arise from unwanted ad exposures. Google says it won’t provide advertisers with metrics on ad “mutes” initially, but will consider doing so in the future.

The feature will be rolling out in the next few weeks, starting with the remarketing and interest-based ads.


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