The Acceptable Ads Committee (the “AAC”) held its ninth board meeting on September 1, 2022. During the meeting, we set out the priorities for the upcoming year, which include:
- Elevating the Acceptable Ad Committee’s ability to recruit members.
Acceptable Ads serves as the voice of users by defining what constitutes a respectful browsing experience – an experience that should be available to all internet users. It is essential that the AAC continues to solicit direct user participation from the global internet community to ensure the Open Web develops in a fair and sustainable manner. This development requires a dialogue with other industry stakeholders. Accordingly, the AAC will simultaneously focus its recruiting efforts at users, publishers, advertisers, ad tech companies, and regulators.
- Evolving the Acceptable Ads Standard.
The Acceptable Ads Standard (the “Standard“) reflects the way that users interact online and provides sustainable opportunities for publishers and other stakeholders. These, of course, evolve over time and it is essential that the Standard evolves alongside them. The AAC must remain at the forefront of conducting research on the acceptability of new ad formats that create value for the digital media industry, while still meeting the highest threshold of user acceptability. It is also necessary that the AAC advocates for users on issues like data usage and privacy, as it is uniquely situated to do so in a manner that takes into account the needs of all industry stakeholders.
- Building a foundation for research.
The AAC has developed and maintains the criteria for Acceptable Ads on the basis of insights derived from rigorous independent research. While the AAC has traditionally commissioned such research itself in order to maintain its high standards on quality, this imposes constraints on the quantity of research that can be conducted. The AAC will look to expand its relationships with academia, in order to enhance the scope of research that can be conducted. The AAC must also develop protocols and standards that the ad-filtering industry can utilize to empower users to directly evaluate the acceptability of their experience.
After a presentation on these priorities, the AAC Representatives had a thoughtful discussion on the topic of ad refresh, including its implications on users and other industry stakeholders. The AAC has commissioned a study on ad refreshing and an update was provided on the status of the research, including the structure of the study, the actual user experience and specific parameters being tested, and other details. The AAC will reconvene to discuss the results of the study once they are available.
Finally, the AAC was provided with an update on how the addition of In-Content Ads to the Standard has impacted various tracked metrics. The new format has been embraced by publishers, with only nominal increases in user-reported issues. These metrics will continue to be tracked and reported to the AAC.
The AAC thanks all of its Representatives and members for their continued commitment and support. We expect to make great progress towards our goals this year and we look forward to sharing the next update with all Acceptable Ads stakeholders.
President of the Acceptable Ads Committee