What The “Better Ads Experience Program” Means For Your Publication

Google and other members of the Coalition for Better Ads are planning to implement standards which will harmonize the way ads work on both desktop and mobile. The “Better Ads Experience Program” will aim to drive positive user experiences and will impact the ad configurations of publishers.

Here is what you need to know about these new standards.

What Are The “Initial Better Ads Standards”?
Last year the Coalition released its “Initial Better Ads Standards”. This research was based on the survey responses of 25,000 web users, and aimed to identify the least preferred ad experiences on both mobile and desktop. The exercise identified a range of ad formats that frustrate users such as flashing ads, pop-up ads, and more. Check out the full list of least preferred ads for both desktop and mobile.

How Did Google Respond To The Standards?
After the standards were published, Google immediately put its weight behind them in a bid to protect ads and the “sustainability of the web ecosystem”. Google announced that from early 2018 onwards, Chrome would block all ads on websites that failed to be compliant with the standards.

In a second update after the release of the “Better Ads Experience Program”, Google announced that from February 15 onwards Chrome will block all ads on sites that have a “failing” status in its Ad Experience Report for over 30 days.

What Is The “Better Ads Experience Program”?
The program is a “voluntary initiative for industry participants to improve the online ad experience for consumers and promote marketplace adoption of the Better Ad Standards”. Details about the program, including the registration process, fees, and other details, will be released in January.

Details around the project are still somewhat unclear, despite The Coalition for Better Ads releasing its framework for the program in December. Essentially, publishers can opt in to become a “Certified Company” and join a whitelist of websites. Publishers on this list must abide by the standards and feature just a small percentage of the blocked ads.

How Do Publishers Become Compliant?
Questions remain about prices, frequency of assessments, or how long it may take for publishers to appeal against a block. The release of new information in January may offer clarification.

In the meantime, Google has provided the “Ad Experience Report” tool which can help publishers to assess their compliance with the standards on their verified properties.

It is critical that publishers begin to become compliant with the standards. In a Google support thread, a Google employee stated that while Google would prefer to simply block only noncompliant ads, this is technically infeasible. This means that if a publisher features a single noncompliant ad, they run the risk of having all ads on their site blocked.

What’s Next?
Keep your eyes open for additional information that will be released in January.

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