September 2, 2021

Heavy Ads: What they are and how to prevent them

Heavy ads get blocked from Google Chrome since the “Heavy Ad Intervention” was released.  The ultimate goal of both advertisers and publishers in digital advertising, as it benefits everyone, is offering the best possible user experience in every single digital media. This is not feasible when heavy ads decrease important factors of the user experience on a website.

When users started installing ad blockers to combat exploding ad exposure, publishers' monetization efforts started experiencing a decline. To counteract this movement, Google began examining any discomfort a user could have and banned these issues. Due to problems caused by heavy ad creatives, Google decided to create the “Heavy Ad Intervention” – ultimately blocking resource-intensive ads in the Chrome browser.

What are heavy ads?

To prevent loading ads and then get rejected by the browser, creatives have to fit into a certain format, which is set by Google in the Better Ads Standard.

When the user does not interact with it, Google defines heavy ads by four criteria

  • Ad duration exceeds 60 seconds in total 
  • Ads plays more than 15 seconds in any 30 seconds window
  • Ad consumes more than 4 MB of the network bandwidth
  • Negative impact on overall viewability, VTR and scalability

Technically, the ad is not blocked by Chrome beforehand, but risks being hidden if one or more criteria for heavy ads comply.  Sometimes, the video doesn't play at all or just the beginning of it.

This “Heavy Ad Intervention” applies only to ads, which are indirectly integrated via an ad server on Chrome Version 84 and above. It prevents users from having a negative experience on the website due to the disproportionate use of resources on their device. The aim is to mitigate any performance degradation of the website. In case the ads start, heavy ads also have a negative impact on the overall viewability, VTR, and scalability of ad campaigns, because of interruptions of the creative, which ultimately limits their reach hence jeopardizing monetization opportunities for publishers, because in case the ads start it gets interrupted.

What can publishers do to prevent heavy ads?

To prevent this problem, publishers have a few different options. 

Here are some tips to prevent heavy ads:

  • Third-party ad services can audit and validate the creatives to prevent heavy ads (i.e. Lighthouse)
  • Educate inventory buyers on heavy ad criteria
  • Compress the size of the  video creative to < 4 MB and the length to under 60 seconds via script 
  • Direct Integration without an AdServer

The Top 4 Tips to prevent heavy ads are explained

Anomalies in a campaign's performance can be an indicator for heavy ads and in case there is a heavy ad published, the publisher may set an alert mechanism to know if Google is blocking an ad. Furthermore, it is useful to partner with providers, who have a good quality control process, which prevents heavy ads from being delivered. 

How can ShowHeroes support?

ShowHeroes is a trusted expert in video advertising. Our video creation unit at ShowHeroes Studios offers compression tools for publishers to compress videos without quality loss. Thanks to this service each creative maintains high quality without getting blocked in the Chrome browser because of the data size.

Additionally, Showheroes Studios offers video ad creation for publishers with all measurements to ensure that the ad fits into every browser. Also, ShowHeroes has a large video library with sophisticated Video Player technology to serve video content fast and smoothly. Creative hosting and ad serving via the ShowHeroes AdHero broadly supports publishers in every step of delivering video advertising campaigns.

Lastly, ShowHeroes Video Player is directly integrated with many websites' CMS. That means, ShowHeroes has total control of the upload, information and can intervene if something is disrupting the success of an ad campaign.


If you'd like to have more information about our tools and tech stack, or simply have a chat, please get in touch with us.

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