google_muteLast week, Google posted that it is investing in many ways to give users control over the ads they see:

1. On YouTube, the TrueView ad product enables users to skip video ads.

2. On Google search, users can click “Why this Ad?” and stop sites they’re not interested in from showing ads

3. The Ads Preferences Manager, available with one click on the AdChoices icon on ads on the Google Display Network, enables the consumer to edit  interest categories, or opt out of all interest-based ads including remarketing ads on Google‘s Display Network.

Over the next few weeks, Google will be introducing a small [x] which will appear in the corner of some display ads on the Google Display Network. When a user clicks the [x], he or she will no longer see ads from that campaign. Google is starting by showing the [x] in ads that are based on remarketing and interest categories.

Users who click the [x] on an ad will be shown a confirmation page, explaining that the advertisement has been muted, along with a link to the Ad Preferences Manager and the feedback this provides will also help improve ads over time.

The muting is not a 100% guarantee you won’t see that ad again as a consumer -- for example, the same ad could be shown by a different ad company, or the marketer could run a separate campaign targeting specific web content - but Google believes it’s an early step in the right direction of giving users control over ads, while helping marketers and websites deliver ads that perform better.

Google also believes 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; 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, and spend less time filtering out ads they think won’t be of interest to their audience.

Online advertising underpins the web and supports millions of businesses. It’s already unique in the level of control it can offer users. Google is at the early stages of these innovations, with much more to come in months and years ahead.

By Anjum Siddiqi