Article

Michael McNulty
Michael McNulty 18 August 2017

How key stakeholders should interpret the Better Ad Standards

With progress of any kind comes the time for evaluation. Unfortunately, the ad industry hasn’t taken a holistic look at the consumer experience in the past few years, so it has failed to acknowledge and adjust to growing consumer dissatisfaction.

Digital advertising has grown by leaps and bounds over the past few years and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. From high-impact programmatic executions to advanced, data-driven analysis of issues like viewability and verification, the opportunities have become limitless. With progress of any kind comes the time for evaluation. Unfortunately, the ad industry hasn’t taken a holistic look at the consumer experience in the past few years, so it has failed to acknowledge and adjust to growing consumer dissatisfaction.

With this in mind, Coalition for Better Ads recently undertook such an audit and released its Better Ads Standards, aimed at understanding the consumer mindset and identifying the least-preferred ad experiences. The survey, which polled 25,000 consumers across Europe and North America on both desktop and mobile experiences, found that ads can feel intrusive and annoying. There is also an overreliance on retargeting, which can appear disrespectful to the consumers. Hence, the rise of ad blocking technology.

We must first emphasise that the new standards are in no way an indication of a crisis or a breaking point. But while many are still interpreting the standards, it’s clear that entities across the online ad ecosystem will be affected. Two parties in particular – agencies and publishers – will have to bear more responsibility than they may have done previously if the industry wants to ensure consistent quality ad experiences for all consumers.

To adapt to the recommendations of the Better Ads Standards, agencies must be aware of the media being purchased on behalf of their advertiser clients, which requires insight into the publishers. Agencies must also be proactive in precautionary initiatives that technology providers undertake, to better safeguard their clients from delivering impressions that may have a negative impact on their brands. Finally, they must identify key features and formats that behave in a user-friendly method. 

One of the easiest best practices to adopt is to make the user the focus of the creative strategy. Brands can implement visual cues that encourage users to interact with ads, without being intrusive. User-friendly design, incorporated via programmatic technology and Dynamic Creative Optimisation (DCO), allows for an optimum level of safety and consistency. This enables brands to deploy their message with the confidence that they will get the return on ad spend they deserve.

 Meanwhile, publishers can be proactive in weeding out disruptive formats and place stricter guidelines around redistributing the ad units that contain annoying user interactivity and deployment. The report identified four kinds of ad units that generally lead to poor user experiences: pop-up ads; auto-playing video ads with sound; prestitial ads with countdown; and large sticky ads. While there is great pressure to increase revenue, publishers have to be aware that the harm these ad units do to the consumer experience outweighs any potential revenue gains.

Publishers should adapt these ad units to better fit the user experience they want to provide. If auto-play video is an accepted feature on a site, publishers must arrange the video units so that they are triggered, muted and remain in-page unless the user engages with the ad. Publishers must also ensure that file weights are reasonable, so that consumers are not experiencing lengthier load times to view the requested page. One rule of thumb to adopt is that if functions happen on a page without a user initiating them, then the chances are that the ad is in violation of user-friendly performance guidelines.

As advertisers continue to push for higher engagement with attention-grabbing ad units, the industry at large needs to avoid falling into a trap of chasing ad quantity over quality experiences. The coalition’s mission is not to derail the advertising business, but to establish global standards that are increasingly user-focused. Understanding these needs and meeting consumer expectations is a responsibility that everyone in the ad industry shares.
 

Please login or register to add a comment.

Contribute Now!

Loving our articles? Do you have an insightful post that you want to shout about? Well, you've come to the right place! We are always looking for fresh Doughnuts to be a part of our community.

Popular Articles

See all
Digital Marketing Vs. Traditional Marketing: Which One Is Better?

Digital Marketing Vs. Traditional Marketing: Which One Is Better?

What's the difference between digital marketing and traditional marketing, and why does it matter? The answers may surprise you.

Julie Cave
Julie Cave 14 July 2016
Read more
Infographic - The Best Times and Days to Post to Social Media

Infographic - The Best Times and Days to Post to Social Media

With the social media landscape changing literally every single day, it's become a full-time job for social media managers to merely stay up-to-date on emerging and shifting trends and best practices. It's tedious, time-consuming, detail-oriented, and, quite frankly, a bit of a headache. But thanks to this new infographic, some guessing can be taken out of social media management.

Will Price
Will Price 21 September 2017
Read more
Customer Journey Mapping: A Real-Life Approach to Your Digital Marketing Strategy

Customer Journey Mapping: A Real-Life Approach to Your Digital Marketing Strategy

As financial services and insurance (FSI) companies strive to deliver the seamless multi-channel customer experience, the traditional marketing model has been radically reimagined. Innovative institutions are showing how cross-functional teams focusing on the customer journey can work to develop a single view of the customer – an approach that can bring tangible rewards. Yet research shows that large institutions still have some way to go in maximising the return on their investment in this area.

Aoife McIlraith
Aoife McIlraith 18 September 2017
Read more
4 Important Digital Marketing Channels You Should Know About

4 Important Digital Marketing Channels You Should Know About

It goes without saying that a company can't do without digital marketing in today's world.

Digital Doughnut Contributor
Digital Doughnut Contributor 5 November 2014
Read more
10 Marketing Lessons From Apple [Infographic]

10 Marketing Lessons From Apple [Infographic]

The 10-year-old kid, selling ice cold fresh lemonade on the street corner in your local neighbourhood had it right. He or she may not have realized it but the simple marketing strategy that they accidentally and innocently came up with works perfectly on the people strolling by on their daily walk.

Ellie Summers
Ellie Summers 19 September 2017
Read more