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Improving user experience with the Better Ads Standards

Improving user experience with the Better Ads Standards

Bad ads are bad for everyone. Some annoy users because they cover up content or aren’t relevant, and others disrupt users by slowing browsing. Though they come in many shapes and sizes, bad ads lead to a common outcome — a degraded online experience.

Some people who are understandably frustrated with these experiences install ad blockers — software that prevents ads, good and bad, from appearing. When this happens, every publisher pays the price, as it means they earn less money to pay for the free content we all enjoy. For advertisers who create good ads, ad blockers make it challenging to connect with customers. And for consumers, it means they’ll no longer see useful, relevant ads.

To solve the issues with annoying and disruptive ads, an industry-wide solution was needed. Leading trade groups, publishers, marketers, agencies, and technology providers involved in online media came together to form the Coalition for Better Ads with the goal of improving consumers’ experience with online advertising. Together, they developed the Better Ads Standard with the goal of creating a new standard that is backed by empirical data, clarifies how to identify and fix annoying and disruptive ad experiences, and, above all, put the user first.

The Standards

The Better Ads Standards are based on extensive user research conducted by the Coalition about which ad formats and ad experiences consumers think are the most annoying and disruptive. To date, the Coalition has conducted research with more than 66,000 consumers in countries representing 70% of global online advertising spend. The resulting Standards are made up of four desktop and eight mobile web display-ad experiences that companies should avoid to maintain a good user experience.

There are a number of benefits for both publishers and advertisers who implement the standard:

  • Publishers who already adhere to the standard benefit from an improved ecosystem, which may result in a shift in advertising spend to good ad experiences and/or reduced user demand for ad blockers.
  • Publishers who remove bad experiences to adhere to the standards will be offering their users better experiences on their sites. This has the potential to increase user engagement and brand perception.
  • Advertisers who buy inventory and produce creatives that adhere to the standard will be reaching users in a more relevant, engaging way, delivering a more positive overall experience.


The Better Ads Standards were initiated to inform publishers about the type of Ads that disrupts user experiences, and in turn lead to users blocking ads. Pop-ups, dense ads, auto-play video ads, full- screen scroll overs— are the kinds of ads users dislike the most.