The Coalition for Better Ads Standards is a new initiative that was created by a group of leading international digital advertising organisations and companies who work in the online digital media industry. Online advertising has grown at an unprecedented rate in the last decade. It allows individuals and organisations to earn revenue from written content and social posts across a range of platforms online. The downfall of this growth is that consumers have become increasingly frustrated with ads that disrupt their user experience, whether these are causing slow internet browsing or interrupting content. Consequently, ad-blocking software is now used by over 35% of all internet users, which has had a detrimental effect on ad revenue for publishers.
The Coalition for Better Ads has leveraged consumer insights and have worked with a variety of industry experts and digital publishers to develop new global standards for online advertising. It is hoped that through these new measures, it will help address consumer expectations and create a positive consumer online ad experience.
Why it’s important to create a user-friendly online experience
Understanding customer behaviour is vitally important when creating a user-friendly online experience. Some of the most basic usability tips include making sure sites flow logically and navigate intuitively, include concise and captivating content that is easy to understand and that these are posted alongside strategic visuals. Website design functionality should be an organisation’s number one priority in development. If the process is too cumbersome, your business will lose revenue and not meet goals as a result.
Consumer views of ads have progressively become more negative and have fallen short of expectations. Many types of ads cause significant disruption to the browsing experience. This can cause customers to get frustrated with delays and can even lead users to leave the site.
One area which came apparent through research and insight from industry experts is the difference between desktop and mobile web ad user experiences. More time is spent browsing the internet on smartphones compared to desktop, in fact, mobile “now accounts for 69 percent of digital media time spent.” With the rise of mobile is more important than ever that companies are optimised for mobile as well as desktop.
How was the Initial Better Ads Standard developed?
The coalition surveyed more than 25,000 internet users in North America and Europe to survey their preference for different types of online ads to determine their experiences that fall beneath a threshold of consumer acceptability. These also helped creators discover which format is most likely to cause consumers to adopt ad blockers.
By merging consumers’ chosen preferences, the coalition was able to discover the ranking of different ad experiences in the form of a ‘stacking method’, from best to worst. Using the data provided it was clearly identifiable as to which ad experiences have a detrimental effect on both desktop and mobile web, creating the initial Better Ads Standards for each digital environment.
The following ad experiences are viewed to be beneath the initial Better Ads Standards. For Desktop, there were four formats that consumers deemed to be intrusive to their user experiences. These include Pop-up ads, Auto-playing videos with sound, Prestitial ads with a countdown and Large sticky ads. On mobile, due to the smaller screens, an ad can have an adverse effect on the experience. On this technology, eight fell below the quota. These include Pop-up ads, Prestitial ads, Mobile pages with more than 30% ad density, Flashing animations, Poststitial ads that require a countdown to dismiss, Fullscreen scrollover ads, Large sticky ads and Auto-playing videos with sound.
As the Better Ads Standards come into effect it is widely encouraged that advertisers and publishers follow the new guidelines to provide visitors with the best online ad experience.
Who’s involved – What will Snack Media be doing?
Since its development, the coalition’s membership has expanded to 35 companies and trade associations, as well as 81 affiliate trade associations in 59 countries. The 2018 rollout of the program will undoubtedly see more publishers agree to not use the most disruptive ads identified in the Standard.
Across Snack Media’s network of over 300 sites, we will be adhering to the new standards and fully support this initiative as a way of improving user experience across the web. Advertisers will also be forced to be more engaging with their creative, rather than purely falling back to the philosophy that bigger is better. Hopefully, these standards will safeguard web browsing for users in the immediate future and lead to an advanced approach and further new thinking around the monetisation of the web, particularly mobile web.