Our Guide on Better Ads Standards: A Primer on the Coalition for Better Ads

Certain ad types are intrusive, disrespectful, annoying, or just generally impact the online user experience negatively. 

That’s why an international body of online media companies called the Coalition for Better Ads was developed to create global online advertising standards and oversee that these standards are implemented with fidelity. These standards are called Better Ads Standards.  

Better Ads Standards is a specific framework created based on data from numerous consumers across North America, Europe, and other regions and countries. These standards help publishers employ quality advertisements that are respectful, non-intrusive, and user-friendly.

All the research has been done to see which type of ads work best and which ones are more likely to incentivize people to use ad blockers. 

By following the Coalition’s research and adhering to these standards for your ad experiences, publishers and advertisers can create a more sustainable advertising ecosystem, thus increasing the likelihood of ad revenue over time. 

How Do Better Ads Standards Impact Publishers?

Publishers play a critical role in forming the digital advertising landscape, and implementing Better Ads Standards can significantly impact their operations. 

The Coalition for Better Ads encourages publishers to evaluate their advertisements against their research findings, specifically regarding the most intrusive ads, which we’ll discuss in the next section. 

Their Better Ads Experience Program gives publishers 30 days to review existing ads, which gives publishers enough time to self-review their ads and ensure it’s in alignment with the established standards. 

A key aspect of the implementation of Better Ads Standards is Google Chrome’s gatekeeping, as Google Chrome can block any ads that don’t comply with the standards the Coalition has created. 

Chrome is undoubtedly one of the most widely used web browsers, and if publishers’ ads don’t comply, they’ll be blocked in order to safeguard users from disruptive ads. 

Publishers then receive a warning and have an opportunity to rectify their flagged ad. Failure to do so within a specific timeframe may lead to the publisher getting blocked from displaying any ads at all, which would, in turn, negatively impact their revenue streams

The growing use of ad blockers further underscores the significance of adhering to these standards. Intrusive ads are one of the key reasons users install ad blockers, as they’re looking to seek relief. 

If publishers ensure their ads meet these acceptability guidelines, they can help alleviate users (and potential buyers) frustrations. 

Fortunately, Google offers an Ad Experience Report, which publishers can use to attain insights and feedback on ad acceptability. This report can help publishers identify and rectify problems easier, thus ensuring their advertising practices are safe, respectful, and engaging for users.

All in all, through the Better Ads Experience Program and Google Chrome’s enforcement efforts, publishers can review their ads, eliminate intrusive elements, prevent their ads from being blocked by either Google or Google users, and create a more user-friendly online environment.  

Ad Types That Reduce User Experience

The Coalition for Better Ads has conducted plenty of research and surveys to identify the most intrusive ads. They encourage publishers to avoid using these ad formats, which we’ll explain below.

Keep in mind that you can technically use the following ad types; however, these ad types are likely to reduce user experience, get blocked, and lead to declines in ad revenue. That said, it’s best to try and avoid the following ad types:

Intrusive Desktop Ad Types

Here are a few intrusive desktop ad types that lead to user frustration, annoyance, etc. 

Pop-up Ads

Pop-up ads are ad windows that appear on top of the main desktop browser window, and they often open up automatically or are triggered by specific actions (such as the user scrolling to a certain area of the page or the user intending to leave the page). 

These ads can be disruptive, as they overlay the content users are trying to view, thus visually obstructing the browsing experience. They have an unexpected nature that can qualify them as intrusive. 

Large Sticky Ads

Large sticky ads are display or banner ads that remain fixed (or “stuck”) to a portion of the screen (usually on the top) as users scroll through the rest of the page. These ads can take up a lot of space and potentially block the content users are trying to view. 

The fact that they remain visible even as users continue to navigate the page can lead to user annoyance, which can then lead to users either trying to block the ad or leaving the page entirely.  

Auto-Playing Video Ads With Sound

Autoplaying video ads with sound automatically begin playing once the webpage loads, and they are usually unexpected. The audio can be disruptive for users, as it might catch them off guard. 

Users may find these ads especially disruptive if they are browsing the web in a quiet environment or don’t realize how loud the volume on the computer is before the ad comes on. 

Prestitial Ads With a Countdown

Finally, there are prestitial ads, otherwise called interstitial ads, which are display ads that appear as full-screen overlays before users can access any content they desire. 

These ads often feature a countdown timer, delaying the user from reaching their intended webpage. 

Having to wait to see content is not something most web users wish to experience. 

Intrusive Mobile Ad Types

When advertisements are mobile, there are even more ways for ads to be disruptive and intrusive due to the smaller screen. Let’s look at these types of intrusive mobile ad types you should be aware of if you’re an advertiser or publisher, based on extensive research in ad tech. 

Pop-up Ads

Similar to the desktop pop-up ad description earlier, mobile pop-up ads are ad windows that suddenly appear over the main webpage content, thus interrupting the user’s browsing experience. 

Advertisers may want to present info or an opportunity that someone going to that page might want to see; however, these ads are especially risky on mobile apps due to the limited screen size that might make it more difficult to close the ad. 

Prestitial Ads

Prestitial ads are full-screen ads that often have a timer or skip option. Even if there’s a skip option, it might be difficult for users to see this on their mobile devices. 

Users may find this type of ad disruptive and frustrating, as it feels like a barrier to the content they wish to see, especially if it’s a significantly prolonged time. 

Flashing Ads

Flashing ads on mobile devices contain rapid and frequent changes in color, patterns, or brightness. These animated ads are meant to capture user attention, but they can be highly distracting and irritating, causing visual discomfort or even triggering photosensitivity issues.

These ads can also impair readability, induce headaches, or cause other adverse effects, making them especially unappealing to users. 

Pages With More Than 30% Ads Density

This doesn’t refer to a specific ad type, but to a web page with an excessive number of ads compared to the actual content, users came to the page for. 

When the ad density of the screen is 30% or higher, it can create a cluttered, overwhelming, or even desperate appearance that users may find challenging to engage with. 

Auto-Playing Video Ads With Sound

When an ad automatically plays a short-form video with sound and without user interaction, this can lead to annoyance from a user. 

It potentially disrupts the browsing session through the unexpected nature of the sound and can lead to annoying or even embarrassing situations in public settings. Plus, sound can be distracting and distract from engaging with the primary content on the page. 

Large Sticky Ads

Large sticky ads on mobile phones are similar to their desktop counterparts but may even occupy more screen space proportionally. 

These types of mobile ads can lead to challenging reading experiences, hampered navigation, and obstructed views, ruining the consumers’ experience. 

Full-Screen Ads

As its name suggests, full-screen ads occupy the entire screen on a mobile device, often appearing during transitions between different app screens or after completing a specific action. 

Users may find full-screen ads disruptive to the natural flow of their interaction with the app, requiring them to wait or close the ad to continue the intended activity. 

Postital Ads With a Countdown

Finally, positital ads are similar to prestitial ads but appear after users have completed a specific action or achieved a goal instead of before it. 

While these might not be as intrusive as blocking the user from completing the action, they may still be annoying, disruptive, or frustrating, especially if the user wants to complete another separate action. 

Benefits of Following Better Ads Standards Recommendations

You might’ve started gathering some benefits of following Better Ads Standards throughout this article, but now we’ll detail the specific key advantages of publishers following these standards. 

Enhanced User Experience

By using non-intrusive ads that align with Better Ads Standards, publishers can provide a better online ad experience for users. 

Higher Engagement

Ads that are relevant, respectful, time-sensitive, space-sensitive, and non-disruptive tend to lead to higher user satisfaction and user engagement overall. 

Plus, users are more likely to stay on a website that offers a seamless and enjoyable browsing atmosphere, leading to increased retention. 

Higher Click-Through Rates

Not only will there be higher engagement with the website, but also higher engagement with the ads themselves, as demonstrated by improved click-through rates. 

Higher click-through rates are typically correlated with higher revenues for the advertisers, and advertisers are more likely to pay publishers more because of that. 

Reduced Reliance on Ad Blockers

The widespread use of ad blockers poses a challenge to publishers as it hinders their ability to effectively monetize their content. However, adhering to Better Ads Standards helps mitigate the need for users to resort to ad blockers. 

With more non-intrusive ads from more publishers complying with Better Ads Standards, users will be less likely to block all ads entirely. 

Attracting Higher Paying Advertisers

Advertisers are becoming more aware of the significance of ads that align with users’ preferences and positive online experiences. 

That said, publishers who follow Better Ads Standards demonstrate to these advertisers that they’re committed to delivering high-quality ad experiences. 

This factor can then attract higher-paying advertisers who are more cautious about associating their brand with intrusive ads or anything that could damage their brand. 

Increased Investment in Better Ad Experiences

As more publishers inevitably adopt Better Ads Standards, the demand for these ads will likely increase. 

Advertisers and brands will likely redirect their budgets towards delivering better ad experiences that comply with these shifting standards, thus resulting in more resources being allocated to these types of ads

Consequently, publishers may benefit from increased investment in ad experiences that prioritize a positive online ad experience for the internet user and ultimately generate higher returns. 


The Coalition for Better Ads created Better Ads Standards, which are standards for ads that improve overall user experiences and discourage certain intrusive ad types like pop-up ads or flashing ads. 

Ignoring any Better Ads Standard, whether on mobile, web, or else, can lead to poor user experiences, getting blocked by the user or by Google Chrome, and discouraging advertising providers from wanting to work with you. 

Newor Media helps publishers increase revenue by providing knowledge about these standards and preventing non-compliant ads from ever showing up on their websites. Learn more about Better Ads through www.betterads.org or by partnering with Newor Media

Lauren Aloia

Senior Account Manager, Publisher Development: Newor Media

Lauren is an ad tech expert with a wealth of experience spanning product development, ad operations, and data analysis. She currently works with Newor Media publishers to implement yield optimization strategies that maximize revenue from their programmatic inventory.