NEW YORK: The 4A’s (American Association of Advertising Agencies), Association of National Advertisers (ANA) and Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) have jointly called for industry self-regulation to help “banish” the most “offensive” digital ad formats.

The three trade bodies wrote to the Coalition for Better Ads (CBA) – a body founded last year to create global standards for online ads – to champion the adoption of what they dubbed the “Better Ads Experience Program”.

More specifically, this framework would involve companies active in the digital marketing space taking a voluntary pledge to adhere with the ad standards favoured by the CBA, which were formally unveiled earlier this year.

In-depth research enabled the CBA to establish the mobile and desktop formats deemed most irritating by consumers, with the main offenders including auto-play video ads with sound, pop-ups and prestitials.

Exposure to these ads, which tend to interrupt or obstruct their digital experience, saw the highest correlation with consumers choosing to install ad blockers.

The letter from the 4A’s, ANA and IAB also proposed enlisting the assistance of web-browsing providers and similar “delivery technology companies” to police compliance with these standards.

While the CBA has taken steps to identify the problem, the three industry groups believe the “Better Ads Experience Program” can more rapidly turn theory into day-to-day practice.

Co-signed by Bob Liodice, the ANA’s President/CEO, Marla Kaplowitz, President/CEO of the 4A's, and Randall Rothenberg, the IAB’s President/CEO, the letter suggested the “Better Ads” initiative would be “fully owned, operated and managed” by the CBA.

“We believe the program outlined above will realize the Coalition’s goals quickly, with maximum participation, minimum disruption, and high effectiveness,” the industry leaders asserted.

“We are taking this proposal public, in order to build support from the industry at large, to obtain their guidance on how it might be improved, and gain agreement from the Coalition’s Board.”

The 4A’s, ANA and IAB are all members of the CBA – as are Unilever and Procter & Gamble, the FMCG manufacturers, tech giants Google and Facebook, and media brands like The Washington Post and Thomson Reuters.

Data sourced from IAB; additional content by WARC staff