The Coalition for Better Ads announced today that it will expand the Better Ads Standards for desktop and mobile web to all countries and regions worldwide to improve the online ad experience for consumers.
The ad experiences in the Standards are based on the Coalition’s extensive research, which has involved more than 66,000 consumers to date in countries representing 70% of global online advertising spending. The research found strong alignment of consumer preferences across countries and regions for the most- and least-preferred online ad experiences, supporting the adoption of the same Better Ads Standards for desktop and mobile web globally. The Better Ads Standards identify the ad experiences that fall beneath a threshold of consumer acceptability and are most likely to drive consumers to install ad blockers.
“Consumers worldwide have sent a clear message to the online ad industry about the ad formats that disrupt their experience online,” said Stephan Loerke, CEO of the World Federation of Advertisers. “Successful brands will respond to consumers by taking steps to avoid these ad experiences in their marketing plans.”
Many industry participants in North America and Europe have incorporated the Standards into their business practices since their publication in March 2017. Today’s announcement will benefit consumers in other regions by highlighting consumer preferences and mobilizing the online ad industry to reflect those preferences. The Coalition and its members will continue to engage with trade associations and companies worldwide to educate the industry about the Better Ads Standards and encourage their widespread adoption, including through webinars and other outreach in the coming months.
“The industry fails terribly at creativity if we can’t even start from the place that ad formats aren’t intrinsically annoying,” said Joe Barone, Managing Partner, Brand Safety, of GroupM, the world’s largest media investment group. “We look forward to working with our media partners and clients to encourage global adoption of the standards. The premise is simple, what’s right for consumers is always the right answer for the advertiser.”
“Our association and its members have been closely following the Coalition’s work in other regions as we work to improve the online advertising environment for consumers in Brazil,” said Renato Girard, Director of Operations of IAB Brazil. “The Coalition’s research and the expansion of the Better Ads Standards will provide additional momentum to further our progress on this important work.”
“We appreciate the comprehensive research that clarifies consumer views about online advertising experiences and the similarity of those views across borders,” said Rodrigo Saavedra, General Manager of IAB Chile, a new affiliate member of the Coalition. “The Standards support our mission to promote a vibrant online ad industry that makes possible a broad range of benefits to consumers.”
The Coalition’s Better Ads Experience Program certifies web publishers that agree not to use the most disruptive ads identified in the Standards. The Program’s online register of certified companies helps advertising partners identify publishers who apply the Standards. Certified companies will not have ads on their sites filtered based on the Standards by browsers that participate in the Program. The Program includes an independent dispute resolution mechanism developed by the Advertising Self-Regulatory Council in consultation with the International Council for Advertising Self-Regulation. The Program, through its implementation entity, will assess compliance with the Better Ads Standards for desktop and mobile web in regions outside of North America and Europe no earlier than May 9, 2019.
Approximately 70 publishers representing nearly 300 domains and 27 countries have certified compliance with the Coalition’s Standards and the requirements of the Better Ads Experience Program. The global presence and reach of participating companies signals the commitment of publishers around the world to align their online advertising experiences with consumer preferences. The Coalition welcomes participation from additional publishers who meet the Program’s requirements.
Participation in the Better Ads Program is just one way the online ad industry participants have independently applied the Standards to benefit consumers. Individual advertisers, ad tech companies, ad agencies, and publishers have incorporated the Standards as part of their efforts to effectively connect with consumers. Industry trade associations in North America and Europe have incorporated the Standards into their certification programs and recommendations of best practices to their members. Last fall, six leading programmatic ad exchanges committed to serving only ads compliant with the Better Ads Standards. Google Chrome has promoted adoption of the Standards by assessing use of ads that violate the Standards and removing all ads for sites that do not meet its criteria for more than 30 days. There has been widespread publisher adoption of the Standards in regions where the Standards have already been in place.
The following types of desktop ad experiences fall beneath the initial Better Ads Standard: pop-up ads, auto-play video ads with sound, prestitial ads with countdown, and large sticky ads. For the mobile web environment, the following types of ad experiences fell beneath the Better Ads Standard: pop-up ads, prestitial ads, ads with density greater than 30%, flashing animated ads, auto-play video ads with sound, poststitial ads with countdown, full-screen scrollover ads, and large sticky ads.
About the Coalition for Better Ads
Leading international trade associations and companies involved in online media formed the Coalition for Better Ads to improve consumers’ experience with online advertising. The Coalition has conducted extensive consumer research to develop Better Ads Standards to help the online ad industry address consumer preferences. The Coalition has 50 members, representing leading global advertisers, advertising agencies, publishers, and technology companies. An additional 80 trade associations from around the world are affiliates of the Coalition for Better Ads. Companies and trade associations that wish to join the Coalition can learn more at www.betterads.org.
If you use Google Ad Manager, then you may have come across this notification reminding you to comply with the Better Ads Standards:
“Will the Global Betters Ads Standards impact you? Starting July 9, Chrome support for the Better Ads Standards expand globally. This may cause your ads to be filtered on Chrome browsers if your ad experiences do not comply with the standards.”
The sudden appearance of this high-profile message in account is understandably causing concern for publishers, but is there anything to worry about?
What are the Better Ads Standards and why does Chrome need them?
Ad Blocking has been on the rise for years driven by users’ dissatisfaction with disruptive and intrusive ads. Given that Advertising is what keeps the internet free, Ad Blockers are bad news for everyone and many parties have been looking for solutions to ensure that a free, ad-funded internet is sustainable.
The Better Ads Standards were developed by the Coalition for Better Ads based on comprehensive user studies. The Better Ads Standards identified twelve ad experiences that were considered by users as the least desirable. Some examples include large sticky ads, auto-play video ads with sound and pop-up ads.
Chrome has been blocking all ads on websites using any of these twelve problematic formats since February 2018. Until now these filters have only been applied to users in USA and Europe, but from July 2019 those blocks are going to be in place worldwide.
What do the Better Ads Standards mean for publishers?
The good news is that if you live in North America or Europe, Chrome already started to filter out ads that repeatedly violated industry standards last year. This means that it is unlikely that publishers with the bulk of traffic from North America and Europe will experience much disruption from this latest change. OKO publishers can be reassured that no ads managed by OKO will be affected by these changes. For all other regions outside of North America and Europe, the Better Ads Standards will begin to roll out of the 9th July 2019. Between now and then, it is important that publishers review the ad experience report in the Google Search Console to ensure that they do not violate any of these policies. Compliant publishers will experience no impact. However, publishers that repeatedly violate standards by displaying low-ranking ad types may lose not only lose revenue from the problematic ads, but have all ads on their website blocked to Chrome users.
Better Ads Standards: Least preferred ad experiences for desktop web and mobile web
The Coalition for Better Ads has developed Better Ads Standards for desktop web and mobile web, based on comprehensive research involving more than 66,000 consumers. The Standards for North America and Europe were published in March 2017 and have been applied by many industry participants in their business practices. The Coalition announced in January 2019 that its research supports the adoption of the same Standards worldwide for desktop and mobile web.
The Coalition’s research identifies the ad experiences that rank lowest across a range of user experience factors, and that are most highly correlated with an increased propensity for consumers to adopt ad blockers. These results define Better Ads Standards that identify the ad experiences that fall beneath a threshold of consumer acceptability. Four types of desktop web ads (six tested ad experiences) and eight types of mobile web ads (twelve tested ad experiences) fell beneath this threshold. A summary of these types of ad experiences is presented below.
Extensive consumer input and empirical data shaped the Better Ads Standards. While the Coalition’s consumer research was designed to identify the least preferred ad types, it also provides insight into consumers’ evaluation of a far broader range of ad experiences, including those more preferred by consumers. By focusing the definition of Better Ads Standards on the least preferred ad experiences, the Coalition’s methodological approach leaves open the possibility for continued innovation in the development of new ad experiences. Visit the Coalition’s research page to learn more about the other tested ad experiences.
For purposes of the current Better Ads Standards, an “ad” is promotional content displayed on the web as the result of a commercial transaction with a third party.
Learn more about the Content Environments for the Better Ads Standards.
Learn more about the decisions of the Coalition’s Interpretation Panel.
Better Ads Experience Program
Welcome to the Better Ads Experience Program. This Program has been created by the Coalition for Better Ads to support its mission to improve the online advertising experience for consumers and promote adoption of the Better Ads Standards.
The Program, based on a framework developed by the Coalition, allows a voluntarily participating Web publisher to declare its compliance with the current Better Ads Standards. The registration process allows the Coalition for Better Ads to collect the information needed to enroll and validate each company and its domains with the Program. Validated Companies that participate in the Program will be eligible for the following:
Free Registration for the Trial Period*
- ✓ No charges for initial registration with the Better Ads Experience Program
- ✓ Simple registration process
- ✓ Immediate benefits for the Trial Period
- ✓ Inclusion in the Program’s Register of active participants
- ✓ Ability to publicize in the marketplace your company’s participation in the Program adherence to the Better Ads Standards.
- ✓ Access to the Program’s independent dispute resolution mechanism to help resolve disputes over assessment of compliance with the Standards, when available
- ✓ Access to the Program’s forthcoming remediation resources (as developed) for any issue of noncompliance with the Standards arising from assessment by an implementation entity accredited by the Program
To complete this registration process, you will need to provide corporate contact information and domains for the Register, as well as agree to the Program’s terms (through the Participation Agreement), and attest to compliance with the Standards.
* Annual fees will be announced at least 30 days prior to the conclusion of the trial period. Registrant is under no obligation to pay the annual fee unless it wishes to participate in the Better Ads Experience Program after the trial period.
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Certified Companies participating in the Better Ads Experience Program may dispute assessments by Implementation Entities that they have not complied with CBA Standards.
The Advertising Self-Regulatory Council (ASRC), a leader in advertising industry self-regulation, provides the independent dispute resolution mechanism for the Program to resolve disputes between certified companies and implementation entities that assess compliance with the CBA Standards. ASRC, which is administered by the U.S. Council of Better Business Bureaus, has for nearly 50 years operated programs that seek to prevent misleading and unsubstantiated advertising claims, ensure that advertisers follow industry self-regulatory standards and provide platforms to resolve advertising disputes between competitors. The dispute resolution procedures for the Program were developed and will be operated in consultation with the International Council for Advertising Self-Regulation (ICAS), a global platform that promotes responsible advertising through the effective implementation of self-regulatory standards.
Dispute resolution for the Program shall be conducted according to the following Procedures.