The world’s biggest advertisers and media owners have united for the first to form what is described as a ‘coalition for better ads’ at a time when scepticism over the efficacy of digital media is rife.
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. That a group such as this has a breadth of constituents is emblematic of the scale of apprehension around a medium that has many marketers questioning the returns they’re getting from it.
Consequently, the coalition is focused on establishing best practice guidelines on how to improve the advertising experience for users.
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. Meanwhile, David Wheldon, chief marketing officer at RBS and the president of the WFA, told The Drum earlier this month that he expects his peers to ‘kick the tyres’ of what metrics should be used over the next 18 months.
The coalition will play a role in that investigation via 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 projects 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 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.”
The announcement affirms WPP chief executive Sir Martin Sorrell’s claim that advertisers are starting question whether they have “overinvested” in digital. While the medium continues to grow, marketers need more data 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.
“When consumers have a negative experience with ads on a site, it impacts the entire Internet ecosystem – publishers, advertising technology companies, agencies, and advertisers,” said Leigh Freund, president and chief executive of Network Advertising Initiative (NAI) “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.”