- Google, Procter & Gamble, Unilever, The Washington Post and a handful of leading advertising and marketing associations announced at DMEXCO that they have formed The Coalition for Better Ads to develop new standards for online advertising.
- The group will primarily focus on strengthening digital advertising and marketing by addressing consumers' concerns that Internet sites and services are being gummed up by intrusive ad practices.
- The initial goals of the group will be to create standards for improving the online advertising consumer experience, develop technology to implement the standards and drive awareness among consumers and businesses.
Consumers are unhappy with pop-ups and data-heavy ads, which denigrate the user experience by being intrusive and slowing down sites. One way consumers are expressing their dissatisfaction is by adopting ad blocking software, a practice that is growing on PC and mobile.
The growth in ad blocking is making marketers nervous that they are losing the goodwill of consumers. Digital marketing is an increasingly important way that marketers build awareness and drive sales, but if their ads are not getting in front of consumers, their programs become less effective.
Not only are consumers choosing to block ads, but recent research from Forrester revealed that that Gen Z, a key up-and-coming demographic for brands, is more likely than Gen Y to avoid advertising on mobile. This suggests that getting in front of consumers on digital platforms could become even more difficult moving forward.
The Coalition for Better Ads hopes to address the problem by developing new standards for ads that address consumers’ concerns. The fact that big-name industry stakeholders are involved out of the gate points to how seriously marketers are taking ad blocking. In addition to Google, P&G, Unilever and The Washington Post, the associations involved are: The American Association of Advertising Agencies, Association of National Advertisers, BVDW Germany, Digital Content Next, DMA, European Publishers Council, GroupM, IAB, IAB Europe, IAB Tech Lab, as well as additional national and regional IABs, Network Advertising Initiative, News Media Alliance and World Federation of Advertisers.
The group is likely to focus on better educating consumers about the important role that advertising plays in funding the videos, news articles and other content they are consuming online. But the coalition will no doubt face several challenges, including getting a wide enough range of brands on board so that it represents the full landscape of marketers. Right now, the group’s makeup leans towards the biggest players in the space who, while often leaders in driving new standards, may have different issues and concerns compared to mid-size and smaller advertisers.
It is also unclear how the coalition plans to enforce the new standards. Most likely, it will try to get as much voluntary buy-in upfront as possible.