Improving the Online Ad Experience for Consumers: Building on a Year of Progress

Coalition Welcomes Axel Springer, Publicis Groupe and Criteo as Newest Members

A year ago eighteen leading international trade associations and online media companies joined forces to improve consumers’ experience with online advertising. Since its launch announcement at dmexco, the Coalition for Better Ads has deployed research, education and expertise to shape a better future for online consumers who depend on the quality content made possible by an ad-supported internet. The anniversary of our launch provides an opportunity to reflect on the Coalition’s progress and discuss the opportunities ahead.

Research and the Better Ads Standards

Leveraging the expertise of its Members, the Coalition this March delivered research-driven standards that companies in the online advertising industry can use to improve the consumer ad experience. The initial Better Ads Standards are based on research in which more than 25,000 consumers in North American and European markets rated 104 ad experiences for desktop web and mobile web. This research, which we believe to be the largest study of its kind, identified the ad experiences that ranked lowest across a range of user experience factors and that are most highly correlated with an increased propensity for consumers to adopt ad blockers.


The Coalition is actively educating the full spectrum of industry participants – advertisers, agencies, publishers and ad platforms - on how to make use of the initial Better Ads Standards. We reached the industry’s decision makers through stories in advertising media around the world, presentations and communications by our participating trade associations to their thousands of members, panel discussions at industry conferences and webinars.

The online advertising industry is continuing to provide feedback on the initial Standards and has offered suggestions for geographies and ad formats to include in future research. We are encouraged by the support members of the industry have voiced for our mission and the ideas contributed to encourage and promote adoption of the Standards.

Growing Global Membership

The global online advertising industry embraced our mission from the start and continues to demonstrate strong support for the Coalition’s work. The Coalition’s membership has expanded to 35 companies and trade associations, as well as 81 affiliate trade associations in 59 countries. We are pleased to announce three new members have recently joined the Coalition for Better Ads: Axel Springer, the leading digital publisher in Europe; Publicis Groupe, the world’s third largest communications group; and Criteo, the commerce marketing technology company. Among the other companies and associations joining in recent months are: News Corp., Thomson Reuters, Omnicom Media Group, the European Interactive Digital Advertising Alliance, and BounceX. We welcome new members and regularly evaluate applications and interest from around the world.

To leverage the expertise and input of its membership and guide our progress, the Coalition is overseen by a Board of Directors of executives from our member trade associations and companies. Several Committees shape and advance our work, including our Standards and Research Committee; Communications and Awareness Committee; Accountability Committee; and Technology Committee.

Work Underway

The Coalition continues to work on several fronts to promote adoption of the initial Better Ads Standards, reflecting input from its members and others in the online ad industry.

While the initial research focused on a broad range of ad experiences (55 desktop and 49 mobile web), the Coalition is continuing to receive input on the full range of experiences in a dynamic and innovative industry, including ad formats that have not yet been tested. The Coalition is developing interpretive guidance to refine the application of the Standards, so that the marketplace can address the least preferred experiences.

We are also prioritizing plans to expand the Coalition’s research to new geographies and ad experiences. The Coalition is finalizing research in Australia and additional European countries. The Coalition will also guide the expansion of research and assess the applicability of the Better Ads Standards in Asia-Pacific and Latin America. Finally, the Coalition is developing a methodology and testing plan to rank ad experiences that appear in in-stream video ads for short form video content.

We are working to help supporters of the Better Ads Standards find partners who share their commitment. We are developing a program for certification of compliance with the Better Ads Standards. Separately, the Coalition is evaluating and developing principles to address the use of the Standards by browsers and other technologies for assessment and implementation.

How You Can Help Improve the Online Ad Experience for Consumers

Companies that share the Coalition for Better Ads’ goal to improve the online ad experience for consumers are encouraged to demonstrate their support through concrete action.

  • Join the Coalition as a Member – The Coalition’s work is supported by financial contributions and investments of time and expertise by its members. Companies who share this level of commitment can contact us to learn more about our membership options.
  • Commit to Adopting the Better Ads Standards - Advertisers can use the Better Ads Standards to inform campaign development and execution. Publishers can use the Better Ads Standards to develop improved experiences for their audiences. Ad technology platforms can use the Better Ads Standards in the development process for new ad experiences. Providers of measurement technologies can use the Better Ads Standards to develop new ways to assess marketplace prevalence of the ad experiences preferred by consumers.
  • Discuss Your Commitment with Your Business Partners – Improving the online ad experience requires support and action by parties throughout the digital supply chain. We encourage you to discuss your commitment to the Better Ads Standards with your business partners and seek to work with those who share your commitment.
  • Share Your Experience With Us – As the Coalition for Better Ads promotes and monitors adoption of the Standards, we will seek ongoing input from the industry to inform and accelerate our progress. We welcome feedback on our work and look forward to working together to enhance the online ad experience and preserve the critical role the ad-supported internet plays in informing, connecting, engaging and entertaining citizens around the world.