Coalition for Better Ads: what it is and why its standards are so important

What is a website without its readers? Nothing. That’s why publishers should try to provide their users with a good and satisfying browsing experience. This concept also holds for advertising: ads are necessary to economically support the publisher, but at the same time they should not annoy the users. How to obtain the right compromise between increasing the publisher revenue and maintaining a pleasant user experience? The Coalition for Better Ads found a way a couple of years ago, identifying the thresholds of consumer acceptability for ads. In this post, we will see what the Coalition for Better Ads standards are and we will describe how Google Chrome used these standards for its ad blocker.



Coalition for Better Ads: what it is

A couple of years ago, the use of ad blockers was one of the hottest issue for the digital advertising industry. Many users were tired to be interrupted by more and more intrusive ads while browsing websites, and installing an ad blocker was the easiest way for them to solve the problem. Obviously, this had negative consequences on publishers’ advertising revenues.

This situation led to the creation, in 2016, of the Coalition for Better Ads: an independent organization of brands, publishers and tech platforms – such as IAB, Google, P&G, Unilever, Facebook and Microsoft – with the goal of promoting a more user-friendly digital advertising ecosystem.

The Coalition for Better Ads standards

The first aim of the Coalition was to identify what ad units were considered “acceptable” by the users. To this end, at the beginning of 2017, the organization involved 25 thousand users in a survey, asking them to evaluate 104 ad units. Based on their answers, the Coalition identified the standards of “acceptability” for ads, revealing the 12 most annoying types of ads (4 desktop and 8 mobile) publishers should avoid to guarantee a good user experience on their websites.

Here they are:

Desktop Prohibited Ad Formats







Mobile Prohibited Ad Formats

The Coalition project then went forward with the creation, at the beginning of 2018, of the Better Ads Experience Program, an initiative to certify the publishers that adopt the Better Ads standards.

The Coalition has really a lot of members. This resulted in a quite large acceptance of its standards from the very beginning. However, there was an event that increased the popularity of these standards even further: the launch of Google Chrome’s ad blocker.

The Better Ads Standards and Google Chrome’s ad blocker

As a member of the Coalition, Google has taken the Better Ads Standards really seriously. It decided to block all the ads on its browser Chrome which were considered too aggressive by the organization. Since February 15th 2018, if on a website there’s an ad deemed “intrusive” – that is, one of the 12 units we have previously seen – that ad will be blocked, and users won’t see it.

Google evaluates websites by examining a sample of pages. Based on the spotted number of violations of the Better Ads Standard, Google gives the sites the status of “Passing”, “Warning” or “Failing”. Site owners can access the full report through the Ad Experience Report API or the Ad Experience Report on Google’s Search Console, and can submit their properties for re-review once the violations have been fixed.

Here you can find a complete explanation of how Chrome’s ad blocker works.

Why the Better Ads standards are so important for publishers

If you are a publisher, there are many reasons why respecting the Coalition for Better Ads standards is important for you. One of them is to make sure that your ads will be served on Chrome. That’s something you shouldn’t underestimate, as Google’s browser is used by the 56% of users worldwide (StatCounter, January 2018). But this is not the only reason. Having ad units that are respectful of the user experience is critical to improve the audience trust both in your website and in the digital advertising system in general. If the user doesn’t find the ad experience on your site positive – perhaps because he’s often interrupted by pop-ups covering contents or autoplay video ads with sound – he could decide to abandon your site or, even worse, to install an ad blocker. Both scenarios would negatively affect your revenue. On the contrary, optimizing your property by choosing user-friendly ad units could improve your readers’ ad experience and help engaging the audience in a positive way.

As a Google partner, Clickio is always following the Better Ads standards and all its ad units are compliant with the market thresholds. Check out our product page to discover the ad formats we offer.

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