Launched at Dmexco last year, the Coalition for Better Ads has released its Better Ads Standards for desktop and mobile to reflect consumer ad preferences in North America and Europe.

The research, involving over 25,000 consumers rating 104 advertising experiences, found that six desktop and 12 mobile ad formats have fallen below the consumer acceptability threshold. Pop-up ads, auto-play ads with audio and prestitial ads were among the most annoying formats.

Nancy Hill, president and CEO of 4As and a member of the Coalition, believes this is a key step in ensuring meaningful engagement and improving the online experience.

“There is still much work to be done but we are out of the gate in our work to make the web less annoying for the average consumer,” added Digital Content Next’s CEO, Jason Kint.

The set of standards backed by the Coalition – made up by some of the world’s top companies and organisations including IAB, Google and American Association of Advertising Agencies – is the first step in its plan to run additional research across various regions throughout Europe, North America, Asia and Latin America.

Wake-up call

The research behind the initial Standards reveals what detracts people from user experience, the main reason they block ads. The disruptive nature of certain ad formats has long been known as one of the main reasons ad blocking has been on the rise.

IAB’s president and CEO, Randall Rothenberg, hopes the set of standards will be a “wake-up call” needed to put an end to ‘annoying’ ad formats.

“If they don’t, ad blocking will rise, advertising will decline, and the marketplace of ideas and information that supports open societies and liberal economies will slide into oblivion,” he explained.

Members of the Coalition agree the study provides a helpful guidance to further consider consumers’ views on advertising and improve their experience.

Unilever’s chief marketing officer Keith Weed believes it’s the industry’s responsibility to increase engagement: “It’s in everyone’s interest; better advertising leads to a better experience for the viewer and more effective advertising for brand.”

Industry improvement

The standards aren’t the first benchmark the industry has come up with; last year saw the IAB UK develop LEAN advertising standards to promote better ad experience. According to IAB Tech Lab’s general manager, Alanna Gombert, the results published by the Coalition will be the foundation of the LEAN Scoring System, currently in development.

“Now we have actionable results that can be used to create tools to improve the user experience across interactive screens,” she explained.

The results of the research will be used by the Coalition to educate its members as well as the industry as a whole.

“The Coalition will build on this important work by expanding its efforts to other regions and ad formats,” commented Stephan Loerke, CEO of World Federation of Advertisers, adding the key goal will always be improving users’ ad experience worldwide.