What is the Coalition for Better Ads?

By Tinuiti Team

Ever get tired of the constant pop-up ads when shopping online? Sick of having videos auto-play in the background while you’re trying to read a news article?

Turns out, pretty much everyone feels the same—and the business world is taking notice.

Advertisers, trade groups, publishers and major companies across the world have banded together to create what’s called the Coalition for Better Ads.

coalition for better ads


What is the Coalition for Better Ads?

Launched in fall of last year, the CBA aims to kick bad ads to the curb, 1) by creating higher ad standards based on consumer research and 2) by enforcing those standards and blocking any ads that aren’t up to snuff.

Of course, it’s not out of the goodness of their hearts that these organizations want to improve our ad experiences.

Like anything in business, it all comes down to the bottom line: Ad blockers are on the rise, and advertisers are losing out—on cash, on ROI and, of course, on customers.

According to Page Fair’s 2017 Adblock Report, at the close of 2016, there were more than 600 million devices running some form of adblocking software, accounting for 11 percent of the world’s internet-using population.

That number’s only expected to rise, too; the same report shows adblocker usage jumped 30 percent globally between 2015 and 2016 alone.

To respond to this growing sector of ad-averse web users, groups feeling the brunt of ad losses are starting at the core of the issue: the ads themselves.

coalition for better ads

How the Coalition for Better Ads Works

To reduce the number of bad, annoying and intrusive ads out there—and subsequently, the number of ad blockers that get downloaded—the CBA wants to use consumer research to create better, higher standards for digital ads.

Eventually, the group will develop tech that will enforce these standards, using a scoring system called “LEAN” (something that’s currently under development, according to members of the group.)

The system is said to score ads based on load time, size and various other factors and will only allow ads that meet certain requirements to be displayed.

Coalition for Better Ads Members

The Coalition for Better Ads runs the gamut in terms of membership.

CBA participants include industry organizations like the American Association of Advertising Agencies, the Association of National Advertisers, BVDW Germany, the European Publishers Council and the World Federation of Advertisers, as well as media companies like The Washington Post, Google, News Corp, Thomson Reuters and Facebook.

There are also a few less obvious Coalition for Better Ads members, like Procter & Gamble and Unilever.

coalition for better ads

The Interactive Advertising Bureau is also a member, though its primary role is to create and deploy the technology that will score ads based on the standards the CBA produces.

Companies are welcome to join the Coalition for Better Ads as they see fit; membership fees start at $20,000, according to a CBA spokesperson.

Better Ads Standards 1.0

So far, the Coalition for Better Ads has released one round of “Better Ads Standards,” based on the study of 25,000 consumers across North American and Europe. Though the standards aren’t very specific, they do outline which types of ads “fall beneath a threshold of consumer acceptability” and “are most highly correlated with an increased propensity for consumers to adopt ad blockers.”

In all, there were six types of desktop ad experiences that fell below the CBA’s standards and 12 mobile ones.





Though there is no set scoring system or technology to block these types of ads or enforce the CBA’s Better Ads Standards just yet, IAB’s president has said they should serve as a “wake-up call” for brands to change their advertising strategies.

“If they don’t,” he said, “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 Future of Digital Advertising

It remains to be seen what—if anything—will come of the Coalition for Better Ads or its Better Ads Standards. One thing’s for certain, though … we could all use a lot fewer pop-up ads in our life, couldn’t we?

To learn more about the Coalition for Better Ads or digital advertising standards, email [email protected].

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