Google wants to know why you’re not clicking on its ads

The next time you mute an advert on one of Google’s search result pages, you may find yourself presented with a short survey. The tech giant has announced a new batch of questionnaires that appear after ads are muted, prompting users to explain why the content is of no interest.

The mute control buttons were introduced last year. “To date, users have muted millions of ads and we have used these signals to make ads more relevant and useful,” explains Google’s Michael Aiello in a blog post. “Over the next few weeks, we’ll be expanding the ways users can give us feedback about ads by introducing a series of short surveys in English-speaking countries which will appear after an ad is muted.”

In the example given by Google, adverts can be labelled as too intrusive, too repetitive or too distracting. You will also be able to report ads for violating Google’s guidelines and policies.

“These surveys will help us understand why users mute ads, serve better ads to users, spot publishers and advertisers in violation of Google’s policies, and help improve ad and placement quality for the broader advertising ecosystem,” continues the official announcement.

Google has also published a yearly review of its fight against bad advertising practices on the Inside AdWords blog. The company says more than 350 million “bad” ads were removed during 2013, compared with 220 million the previous year. The targeted advertisements were those that looked to “abuse online advertising tools for harmful or deceptive purposes.”

Google disabled ads from more than 400,000 sites hiding malware, 10,000 sites promoting get-rich-quick schemes and 1,800 sites linked to remote tech support scams. Over 2 million adverts were booted out of AdWords for promoting illegal online pharmacies.

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