In 2016, 16 companies including Facebook, Microsoft, Google, Unilever, Procter & Gamble and trade groups like the Interactive Advertising Bureau, American Association of Advertising Agencies and IAB Europe formed what’s known as the Coalition for Better Ads.
Their objective? They want to set proper standards for ads that are geared towards user-friendliness, with the goal of providing a better user experience for internet consumers when they interact with ads.
Why is the Coalition of Better Ads Initiative Needed?
Consumers have pegged ads as intrusive and disruptive when they’re surfing the web. As a result, the use of ad blockers, both third-party and browser-based, is ubiquitous in the marketplace.
The coalition aims to shift consumer sentiment by providing high-quality standards for publishers to adhere to. Since its inception, there has been extensive research done between internet user behavior and online advertising. With the amount of data available from the larger companies in the coalition, they’ve been able to find some key insights to improving user experience and ad performance.
Using higher quality ads that users actually enjoy and engage with, brands, companies, and publishers will thrive in the long run by having ads contribute to, rather than hinder, the user experience.
Which Ads are Approved?
When it comes to the standards the coalition has set out, the main goal is to create an ideal user-friendly experience and content environment. Focusing on the user will lead to more ad clicks and ultimately to more buyers, revenue, and ROI.
In a general sense, any ad format that tries to “disrupt” the user-experience might not meet the standards of the coalition. The coalition’s website contains preferred ad formats like long, skinny ads on the right-hand side, and less desirable ad experiences, which include mobile pop-ups and auto-sound video ads on desktop.
Many of the requirements revolve around the advertisements being served seamlessly and planned for with consideration to the user experience. It may be worth it for publishers to revisit their current ad placements amongst their websites and consider the recommendations backed by the coalition.
The Impact, and What’s Next
The main impact the coalition has had is through its adoption by Google Chrome That means a publisher using unapproved ad units will be warned, and if they do not fix the violation within 30 days, Chrome will block all their ads. On a positive note, the standards that the coalition proposes can help inform campaign planning for advertisers and allow publishers to provide a better experience for their audiences.
With more research and time, the standards will continuously change based on the research on user behavior. It’s important to stay up to date with the coalition’s recommendations. The best way to keep up is to keep tabs on any changes or announcements they make via email or on their website.
The Better Ads Coalition has launched the “Better Ads Experience” program for publishers who aim to comply with the Better Ads Standards. In the future, this program could be a key signifier for media buyers to identify sites with high-quality traffic and engagement.