Eighth Acceptable Ads Committee Meeting

The AAC held its eighth board meeting on September 16, 2021. The meeting focused on 4 topics:

  1. Our plans for the future of the AAC presidency
  2. Improvements to how the Acceptable Ads Standard is monitored and enforced
  3. The preliminary results of our latest round of research
  4. Next steps around the prioritization of our research queue

Topic 1 – The Future of the AAC Presidency

At the start of 2021 after just over 2 years in the role of AAC President, I informed the AAC’s board of my intention to step down from the presidency to focus on my day job as CEO of Blockthrough.

When I took on this volunteer role at the AAC, my primary objectives were to (a) drive a more actively engaged culture at the Committee, and (b) to drive more progress on researching popular ad formats whose acceptability had never been adequately explored before.

At this stage, the AAC’s board is more engaged than ever, and we’re making steady progress on the research front:

  • We conducted research around user acceptance of pre-roll video ads — ultimately, no format studied met the threshold needed for a format to be deemed compliant.
  • We’ve nearly finished our study around the acceptability of in-content display ads, they’re currently non-compliant but have never been exhaustively studied.

With these goals accomplished, and knowing that the time requirements of my day job had been a limiting factor in how much impact I could have, I recommended to the Committee that we seek out a dedicated, paid President to lead the Committee into the next phase of its evolution.

There’s lots more to do be done at the AAC, and sometimes, the most impactful thing a leader can do is to get out of the way for the next leader. And I genuinely believe the AAC can be a universally recognized standards body that strikes a balance between the needs of publishers, advertisers, and most importantly, the end users seeing theirs ads.

The AAC’s board unanimously approved the recommendation, so it’s my pleasure to announce that we are formally moving ahead with our search for a new, dedicated President (job description included below).

If you know a fantastic candidate who strikes a balance between user advocacy and advertising industry experience, your referrals are welcome; feel free to send those to applications@acceptableads.org.

I will continue as acting President until we have successfully recruited our new President, and I look forward to remaining actively involved at the lower levels of the AAC thereafter, continuing to advocate for adtech stakeholders within the Acceptable Ads ecosystem, as well as the publishers and advertisers we serve.

Topic 2 – Enforcing the Acceptable Ads Standard

The AAC has an ongoing goal of continual improvement in compliance tracking and enforcement of the standard. The Committee discussed a variety of recent improvements to the tracking process during the meeting, as well as enforcement mechanisms to ensure consistent compliance from all technology providers in the Acceptable Ads ecosystem.

Topic 3 – In-Content Ads Research

Early this year, based on feedback from publisher and adtech members of the AAC, the Committee moved to commission a study around user acceptance of display ads that appear within the content of a webpage, a common implementation of online advertising that is not currently compliant with the AA Standard.

At our latest meeting, the Committee reviewed preliminary results from the first 1,500 participants. The study is still ongoing and will continue until it reaches 10,000 participants.

Upon its conclusion, the Committee will reconvene to discuss the results and whether any modifications to the existing Standard would be appropriate.

Topic 4 – Research Prioritization Meeting Coming Up

In addition to the ongoing research around in-content ads, the Committee was informed of a couple new research requests revolving around (a) the screen resolution used to enforce Acceptable Ads (1366×768), and (b) the acceptability of different implementations of ad refresh.

The AAC will be scheduling a meeting in Q4 to review and prioritize these requests and others in our backlog.

Thanks for taking the time to read about the latest goings-on at the AAC. We look forward to sharing our next update with you!