We know what kind of ads Internet users hate. Among the most hated by both desktop and mobile users are pop-ups, auto-play videos with sound and large sticky ads.
The Coalition for Better Ads, which includes many members of the ad industry, trade associations and a few news publishers, is developing new standards to give users a better experience when they encounter an ad message.
In this Q & A, Eric Visser, CEO of the global ad exchange JustPremium — a member of the coalition — talks about how the advertising and publishing industries are beginning to respond to user-consumer likes and dislikes:
Why are online ads so often so lousy?
Good ads focus on the users, their mindset and how they want to engage with content and advertising. Poor ad experiences are often due to basic standard formats; too many ads on the page; ads that are not viewable; ads that are too heavy and take too long to download; and ads that auto-play with sound on.
How has this happened? The industry focused for too long on click-through rates (CTR) and cost per thousand (CPM) and only recently has the focus been on the user, which is where it should have been all along.
Creative, well-produced ads that promote branding is not enough today, we’re told. What’s the new objective?
Advertisers, agencies and publishers all agree that the user experience is paramount to having a sustained advertising-supported internet. We need to show users “Better Ads” which fit their mindset based on what they are doing, provide entertainment and/or relevant information, and provide an opportunity to engage appropriately.
When we do that, we help advertisers and publishers cut through the clutter, engage with consumers and drive the metrics that matter — viewability, conversions and revenue.
We hear a lot about “viewability.” Please define it. Viewability is whether an ad has been seen by a user, yes or no, and for a certain amount of time. We can correlate bad ad experiences to the rising the use of ad blockers. This is why it’s so important for our industry to establish and support efforts like the Coalition for Better Ads and the Interactive Advertising Bureau’s LEAN standards to encourage non-invasive and non-disruptive ads.
You do see the leading agencies, advertisers, publishers and ad technology platforms coming together to make positive changes. JustPremium, in particular, is part of the Coalition of Better Ads and supports a recent initiative called We Love Better Ads, encouraging the industry to make better ads.
JustPremium is an ad exchange. Aren’t ad exchanges in general part of the problem with viewability?
Viewability is a challenge that the digital industry works hard to improve, at a rapid pace, whether ads are directly sold or programmatic, video or display, desktop or mobile or social. JustPremium provides rich-media formats across premium publishers — meaning that viewability and brand-safety scores, as measured by Moat, are actually higher than the average website.
Not all ad exchanges have low viewability scores. We’ve shown that great formats on top publishers result in high quality ad placements for advertisers. This is why we support the We Love Better Ads initiative — to bring awareness to how and why the industry should invest in making better ads online.
What are some examples of the new ad units you’ve launched at JustPremium to improve user viewability and promote more creativity in the ad industry?
The newly launched Interscroller product exceeds viewability of 80% across desktop and mobile devices, a figure that is far higher than industry standards. Our new Rich Video product provides advertisers with a customizable combination of video, social and content integration in an always-viewable adhesive unit. These products are a creative’s dream – a blank canvas for creativity.
JustPremium works with what it calls “premium publishers.” Who are they?
At JustPremium we work with the top publishers in every market around the globe. Recently we reached a milestone of having a global network of over 3,000 premium publishers. These publishers are based in 25 countries and cover multiple vertical industry sectors.
These vertical sectors allow advertisers to run targeted campaigns relevant to different consumer audiences. Our premium publishers offer a brand-safe environment and adhere to high editorial quality standards.
When we started JustPremium in 2012, our goal was nothing less than to become a game-changer in the advertising industry. Since then, we have seen huge growth, have consistently launched new ad units and products and have built up a trusted marketplace for brand advertisers and premium publishers.
If a local news publisher wants to promote viewability with its users, what should it be doing?
Local news publishers can take a few simple steps to promote more viewable ad experiences for its users:
- Eliminate ad spots that load “below the fold.” Typically these are standard IAB banner slots that are placed at the bottom of the news content. The fact that these ads load for every page leads to low viewability ratings for advertisers and heavier page loads for users.
- Reduce the overall number of ads on your page, and make the remaining ads larger and higher impact. Advertisers prefer a higher percentage share of voice, and users are more likely to engage with larger, high-impact ads. Video is always in high demand, but make sure it is user initiated.
- If you are going to have ads below the fold, make sure they load only as the user scrolls. This reduces the ad load for the user and provides a higher likelihood of viewability for the advertiser.
- High impact units like wallpapers, interscrollers and interactive adhesion units are great for both user experience and viewability.