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Coalition for Better Ads to Adopt Better Ads Standards Worldwide to Improve Consumer Experience Online

Nearly 70K Consumers Agree Most Annoying Ads Are Similar Across Countries and Regions

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MUMBAI: 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.

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