Leading advertisers ponder end of pop-ups and autoplay

The Coalition for Better Ads includes the likes of Facebook, Unilever and Procter & Gamble...

Leading advertisers ponder end of pop-ups and autoplay

Picture by: Frank May/DPA/PA Images

A group of global corporations, producers and publishers have officially revealed that they're fully aware just how much consumers hate pop-ups, autoplay videos and generally flashing advertisements.

The Coalition for Better Ads was formed in September 2016 and includes industry bodies such as the American Association of Advertising Agencies (4As) and the World Federation of Advertisers (WFA), tech behemoths like Facebook and Google, media groups like News Corp, The Washington Post and Thomson Reuters and the big consumer business types of Unilever and Procter & Gamble.

Fresh research from the coalition saw some 25,000 participants in the US and Europe to rate 104 different ad experiences on desktop and mobile to reach its conclusion.

If it seems like a lot of effort to confirm what we already know, the CBA is now planning to perform similar studies in diffeerent parts of the world until at least 2018, suggesting the industry is still moving at a snail's pace on the issue.

The CBA says that, by finding the lowest ranked ad experiences that "most highly correlated with an increased propensity for consumers to adopt ad blockers", it will help "define initial Better Ads Standards that identify the ad experiences that fall beneath a threshold of consumer acceptability."

Six desktop web ad experiences and twelve mobile web ad experiences fell beneath this threshold. Desktop 



The coalition encourages the marketplace to use these results to improve the consumer experience.

“We are energised by how quickly this cross-industry Coalition was able to research and identify annoying advertising formats,” said Jason Kint, CEO of Digital Content Next. “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.”

In terms of "work to be done", Adobe's latest figures, according to AdAge, show that ad blockers are becoming far more commonplace: desktop has grown 400% since January 2013 to 220 million last year, while nearly 9 million mobile users in the US and Europe run ad-blocking software.

Randall Rothenberg, president and CEO of the Interactive Advertising Bureau, said:

“We hope these initial standards will be a wake-up call to brands, retailers, agencies, publishers, and their technology suppliers, and that they will retire the ad formats that research proves annoy and abuse consumers.

"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."

“The scope and nature of this research provides insight into how consumers view different online ad experiences, highlighting what’s working well, and what we need to re-think in order to secure more meaningful engagement,” said Nancy Hill, President and CEO, 4As. “The consumer preferences identified in the Better Ads Standards will be useful to our members who wish to take action to improve the online experience.”