By Nicole Priestley

In March 2017 the Coalition for Better Ads collective released their Initial Better Ads Standards (IBAS) detailing the ad experiences that should no longer be produced by responsible brands, agencies or accepted by responsible publishers. The standard aims to transform the quality of ads we see online day to day.

This blog entry is going to cover what they are, and what they mean for advertisers, agencies and online users.

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Who makes up the Coalition for Better Ads?

In short, a lot of relevant companies from both brand, agency and ad-tech, including the IAB. Some of the larger names include Facebook, Google, App Nexus, Criteo, Omnicom and Unilever. In being members, they are all active participants in the conversation around implementing better ad experiences for online users.

What are the IBAS?

The standards, brought out in March last year, are focused around making desktop web and mobile web ad experiences better. The Coalition conducted comprehensive research into online consumers’ attitudes towards an extensive range of online advertising experiences and ranked these in terms of preference. As a result, there is now a set of ads that all advertisers and agencies should not produce (and publishers should not accept):

Desktop web:

Pop up ads

(Click on the images for more information.)

These ads pop up with no user initiation and must be forced closed.

Auto-playing video ads with sound on

Auto-playing ads are fine, but the sound must be off.

Prestitial ad with countdown

These ads block users from viewing content until the countdown has finished.

Large sticky ads

Sticky ads on mobile are okay, but large ones on desktop web are not.

Mobile web:

Pop up ads

Ads that pop up without user initiation and must be forced closed.

Prestitial ads

Mobile prestitial ads appear on a mobile page before content has loaded, blocking the user from continuing on to the content they have sought out.

Ad density higher than 30%

Ads that take up more than 30% of the vertical height of a page.

Flashing animated ads

Ads that animate and “flash” with fast changing background, text or colours that is annoying for the user.

Auto-play with sound on

Auto-playing ads are fine, but the sound must be off.

Positioned ads with countdown

These ads block users from viewing content until the countdown has finished.

Full-screen scrollover ads

Full-screen scrollover ads force a user to scroll through an ad that appears on top of content. These ads take up more than 30% of the page and float on top of the page’s main content, obstructing it from view. 

Large sticky ads

An ad that sticks to the bottom of the screen and doesn't move with scrolling. It takes up more than 30% of the page.

What to do you if think you are running one of these ads?

Speak to your account manager and they will be able to tell you if any of your ads are violating the standard, and if they are, what you can change in the ad(s) to make them comply. Overall it is in everyone’s interest to comply with these standards to improve user experience, so we encourage all publishers, agencies and advertisers to make themselves familiar with the formats, to ensure they aren’t produced in the future.

It is also worth noting that the new ad blocker feature in Chrome will automatically be blocking these ads in line with their IBAS commitment.

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