A new organization, The Coalition for Better Ads, has been launched to “leverage consumer insights and cross-industry expertise to develop and implement new global standards for online advertising that address consumer expectations.”
Supported by founding members like Google, Facebook, Unilever, Procter & Gamble, GroupM and the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), the new organization represents the latest effort of players in the online advertising industry to cope with soaring ad blocker usage.
According to Randall Rothenberg, the president and CEO of the IAB:
Advertising funds the diversity of information, entertainment, and services on the free Internet, but that doesn’t give business a license to abuse the good will of consumers. It is essential that industry create standards to assure that consumers get safe, fast, secure delivery of the sites and services they love.
The IAB has already launched an initiative, LEAN, that aims to promote digital ads that light, encrypted, ad choice supported, and non-invasive, and a set of DEAL recommendations that publishers can follow to address ad blocking.
The Coalition for Better Ads looks to bring together a broader consortium of ad industry players to identify new standards that can improve the digital ad experience, implement the technologies needed for these standards, and promote the standards so that they’re put into use.
The Coalition will work with the IAB’s Tech Lab, which is already involved in implementing technical standards for the online ad industry, so it appears possible that some of the early work of The Coalition for Better Ads will build off of the IAB’s existing work, such as the LEAN initiative, which includes plans for ad scoring technology that can be used to determine whether ads meet the target user experience standards.
Is the industry too late?
While research shows that most consumers are not opposed to online advertising on principle, the continued growth of ad blockers reflects the fact that large numbers of consumers are simply fed up with the bad apples and would rather block all ads by default.
Absent broad change that can protect consumers from the bad apples, it seems unlikely that ad blockers are going away. And now that one of the most popular ad blockers is getting into the ad business with the launch of an RTB platform, the situation is becoming more complex, which could make it more difficult for organizations like the IAB and The Coalition for Better Ads to effect broad change.
The good news is that the industry isn’t helpless. Consumers are willing to disable their ad blockers when asked under the right circumstances, so while they wait for the industry-wide solutions The Coalition for Better Ads aims to deliver, publishers can fight back by producing high-value content and taking responsibility for the ads that they serve.