In the pursuit of better advertising

11:26 AM, 5 October 2016

How can we improve the digital advertising space?

Joining forces to create a better digital advertising landscape

At a time when many are debating the performance and effectiveness of the digital advertising medium, the world's biggest advertisers and media owners have announced a union to form what is described as a 'coalition for better ads'.

Procter & Gamble, Unilever, Google and Facebook are among the group's founding members, alongside trade bodies such as the World Federation of Advertisers, IAB Europe and the American Association of Advertising Agencies.

The announcement correlates with WPP chief executive Sir Martin Sorrell's claim that advertisers are starting question whether they have "over invested" in digital.

While the medium continues to grow, marketers are increasingly looking for improved measurability and assurances over risks such as ad blocking, ad fraud and viewability before they start to plough more into the likes of publisher sites, Facebook and Google.

Procter & Gamble is the most prominent advertiser within the group to go public with these concerns after it claimed last month that efforts to push through more personalised ads on Facebook had backfired.

As the apprehension grows around a medium that has many marketers questioning the returns they're getting from it, this coalition sets its focus on establishing best practice guidelines on how to improve the advertising experience for users.

What are the first moves of the coalition?

David Wheldon, chief marketing officer at RBS and the president of the WFA, expects his peers to 'kick the tyres' of what metrics should be used over the next 18 months.

The coalition will implement several initiatives over the coming months that include:

  • Create consumer-based, data-driven standards that companies in the online advertising industry can use to improve the consumer ad experience
  • In conjunction with the IAB Tech Lab, develop and deploy technology to implement these standards
  • Encourage awareness of the standards among consumers and businesses in order to ensure wide uptake and elicit feedback

Some of these planned systems will draw on the work its members have been doing on the issue of better measurability, including the efforts of the European national IABS to form a Charter on Digital Advertising Best Practice.

"The relationship between marketers and consumers is based on truth, results, trust and two-way communication" said Thomas Benton, chief executive of Direct Marketing Association (DMA).

"As the Internet evolves, our industry must also evolve, and as a leader of the industry's consumer preferences and self-regulatory programs for over 60 years - both of which are grounded in respecting consumers' choices, DMA is pleased to expand its commitment in helping the industry keep pace with consumers' expectations while continuing to foster the data and marketing innovation that delivers even greater value and benefits to consumers."

Leigh Freund, president and chief executive of Network Advertising Initiative (NAI), adds:

"When consumers have a negative experience with ads on a site, it impacts the entire Internet ecosystem -publishers, advertising technology companies, agencies, and advertisers. Therefore, it is essential that our industry comes together to solve this problem in a structured way that puts the experience of the consumer front and center and holds the industry accountable for that experience."

What are your thoughts on this new coalition? Will the forthcoming action steps be enough? All feedback, queries, and opinions are welcomed to

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