There’s a new group in the mobile advertising space promising to help grow marketing on smartphones and tablets: the Coalition for Better Ads. The alliance is composed of various marketing organizations and big names in the digital advertising space, and looks to improve digital ads to the point that ad blocking becomes obsolete. This is another step from an industry keenly aware of the challenges it faces, and comes on the heels of the announcement that Adblock Plus, the leader in Internet ad blocking, is setting up its own ad-tech platform.
So who is this coalition and how does it plan to change advertising for the better? The roster of founding members is impressive: the American Association of Advertising Agencies, Association of National Advertisers (ANA), BVDW Germany, Digital Content Next, DMA, European Publishers Council, Facebook, Google, GroupM, International Advertising Bureau (IAB), Network Advertising Initiative, News Media Alliance, Procter & Gamble, Unilever, The Washington Post, and World Federation of Advertisers. That list is full of heavy hitters from the industry, representing both businesses and organizations, and all of them are looking to make marketing and advertising better for the consumer.
Google and Facebook are two of the biggest, and this is just another step for each as they try to improve the user experience with digital advertising. When it comes to mobile specifically, Google has rolled out Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) and Facebook has developed Instant Articles to speed up page loads, which benefits consumers while also providing new monetization options for publishers.
The coalition posted a charter, stating that the three things it wants to do immediately are “create consumer-based, data-driven standards … develop and deploy technology to implement these standards … and encourage awareness of those standards and tools amongst consumers and businesses.” When you look at the association as a whole, it certainly appears to be set up to accomplish these tasks. Objective organizations like IAB and ANA can provide input into creating consumer-focused standards, while tech companies like Facebook and Google can translate those standards into usable technology. In its infancy, the coalition already seems to have all the tools it needs to accomplish those objectives.
The members of this group know how important advertising is to publishing, and they also know that the methods and tactics online advertisers and publishers use must provide a better experience for the consumer. “Consumers are clearly frustrated with the current dynamic of digital advertising across the wider web. No industry has ever survived by ignoring consumer needs,” says Jason Kint, CEO of Digital Content Next. Embracing what consumers want is vital to the survival of publishers and advertisers.
Consumers primarily want continued access to free content, and they’ve shown an acceptance of advertisements that don’t interrupt what they’re doing. “Advertising funds the diversity of information, entertainment and services on the free Internet,” notes Randall Rothenberg, the president and CEO of IAB, “but that doesn’t give business a license to abuse the good will of consumers.”
The formation of the Coalition for Better Ads is a step in the right direction for digital advertising, including mobile. The more emphasis is placed on getting things right when it comes to user experience and advertising, the better the relationship between publishers and readers will be. Titans of tech and marketing coming together to accelerate their journey to that goal should prove to be a great move for online publishers and the growth of mobile marketing.