According to this, Google doesn't allow ads served by AdSense to open in a new window:

Generally, it is our policy to not allow Google ads to open in a new window. However, in a few markets, including China, we've found that opening ads in a new window better aligns with expected internet behaviour and provides a more consistent, intuitive user experience.

Keeping in mind the importance of the user experience, we've enabled Google ads to open in new windows in locations where this is expected browsing behaviour. This functionality is determined by the IP of the user, and is not an option that you can select your AdSense account.

This seems quite a significant caveat for a webmaster using AdSense, as it means any advertisements they serve on their site will take visitors away from it.

I can't imagine what Google's motive is for doing this, as not only do users generally dislike ads that disrupt their browsing experience, they're also more likely to simply return to their last-used tab/window after following an ad rather clicking the Back button on their browser once they've done so.

What reasons would Google have to do this, and is anyone aware of more information on which regions/IP address ranges Google has decided to enable the behaviour of opening AdSense ads in a new window for?

  • I get paid when the user clicks on an ad, so I'm happy to have them click, even it if means they leave. – Stephen Ostermiller Mar 5 at 7:49
  • @StephenOstermiller That's assuming that AdSense is the only revenue source on the site, or even that revenue is the primary purpose of the site. It just strikes me as very bad practice for seemingly no logical reason. – Hashim Mar 5 at 11:38
  • If the ad directs a user to the same tab as he is currently in that probably reflects in the price of the ad. If the company serving the ad takes the user away from your site, that click is probably worth more money and thus is bid higher. So by not allowing a new tab you and Google probably make a slight bit more money. That would be the main reason why I'd guess it's setup like this. – Michael d Mar 5 at 12:28

Google doesn't give explanations on how they show ads, what are the criteria to target audience etc. Like how they just cancel adsense accounts, demonetize youtube channels even when they are years old. I cross checked if the ads on Chinese website open in new tab or not, I even used Chinese IP, to my utter surprise I couldn't find many Chinese blogs that even use adsense.

Google cites "internet behaviour" as one of the reasons to open the links in a new tab or window for Chinese markets. My best-educated guess is that Google has to be as lenient as possible when it comes to Chinese markets.

Google has only a 13 % share of Chinese internet search traffic, while it's rival Baidu accounts for more than 73% or search traffic.

Let's say if you visit a page example.com, on this page, you see 3 ads, which is according to your browsing history, and tracking by Google. Now you click on one of them and it opens in a new window, in this case, average visit, impressions, CTR, of the example.com, increased significantly. As you are interested in that particular ad, not on others. Besides, Google's objective is fulfilled, you clicked the ad and now they do not need example.com to remain open.

This is the best explanation by my understanding as of now, a very interesting question though, I hope others will come up with a better explanation.

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