Auto-play video and pop-ups named among the most ‘annoying’ ad formats

The report by the Coalition For Better Ads, which includes members such as Procter & Gamble, Google, Facebook, the World Federation of Advertisers and the IAB, is hoping to eradicate annoying ad formats.


The Coalition for Better Ads has released its first report today (22 March) as it details the ‘most disruptive’ ad formats for mobile and desktop.

More than 25,000 consumers across the US and Europe rated 104 ad experiences for desktop web and mobile web. And according to the report, pop-up ads, auto-play video ads with sound, “prestitial” ads that viewers have to engage with before they can view the content and large sticky ads were each ranked the most annoying for desktop advertising.

In the mobile environment, meanwhile, there was a similar mix as pop-up ads, prestitial ads, ads that take over more than 30% of the screen, flashing animated ads, auto-play video ads with sound, ads with a countdown, full-screen ads that consumers have to scroll past, and large sticky ads were listed as the most disruptive.

The report shows a “long, skinny ad on the right-hand side” ranked as the most popular ad format for desktop, while a “sticky, 320×50 ad on the top” ranked best for mobile.

READ MORE: Mark Ritson: The Coalition for Better Ads is destined for a glorious failure

Responding to a question asked by Marketing Week during a press briefing yesterday (21 March), Chuck Curran, an attorney with Venable LLP and a counsel to the coalition, advised marketers that ads must provide consumers with “elements of control” – such as the ability to turn sound on or off – in order to resonate and sit within the coalition’s quality boundaries.

‘Issuing a wake-up call’

The Coalition For Better Ads is hopeful these results will be used by the industry to improve the user experience, and is now looking to extend the study to other regions such as Asia.

“We hope these initial standards will be a wake-up call to brands, retailers, agencies, publishers and their technology suppliers, and that they will retire the ad formats that research proves annoy and abuse consumers,” said Randall Rothenberg, president and CEO of the IAB.

“If they don’t, ad blocking will only rise, advertising will decline, and the marketplace of ideas and information that supports open societies and liberal economies will slide into oblivion.”

Despite Rothenberg’s strong statement, the Coalition emphasised that the standards are “voluntary in nature”, and aim to educate the ad industry instead of penalise it.

He added: “The primary goal of the Coalition is to generate information to really allow a broad spectrum of stakeholders to take action specific to their own audiences. We want to emphasise our desire that this info is shared by different participants. It’s not just the responsibility of publishers or advertisers to make good use of these findings.”

The coalition, which includes big brand names such as P&G, Google and Facebook, was set up in Dmexco last year in a bid to rid the internet of annoying ads and create global standards for online advertising.

It had previously announced its intention to create consumer-based and data-driven standards the advertising industry could use to improve the consumer ad experience – and the ‘most disruptive’ ads research is thought to be the Coalition’s first step in this direction.