Update from the Acceptable Ads Committee (Q2 2020)

Updates on COVID-19 and the next video ads study

The Acceptable Ads Committee (AAC) was brought to life three years ago with the mission to build out standards that ad-blocking users would deem acceptable.

The AAC’s biannual board meeting was initially planned for April 22, 2020, in New York. Due to the global health situation, the face-to-face meeting with all representatives was postponed until later in Q2.

Instead, the meeting slot on the 22nd was repurposed for our mid-term catch-up call with all members and representatives of the AAC.

On that call, we covered topics ranging from the impact of COVID-19 on the publishing and advertising ecosystems to the latest developments in the AAC’s research on the “acceptability” of various video ad formats, and lastly, to gather feedback on proposed new branding for the AAC.

General discussion of industry trends resulting from COVID-19

Before jumping into agenda items, we held an open dialogue on how the ongoing global pandemic is affecting the advertising and publishing industries.

Virtually everybody on the call noted that they were seeing significant revenue declines caused by large decreases in advertising demand (and thereby, CPMs), losses of direct deals with advertisers, and brand safety keyword block lists.

Meanwhile, as more time is spent indoors, there were significant increases in overall web traffic, as well as notable increases in ad spend across a handful of categories like delivery services and personal finance. Unfortunately, these small glimmers of positivity were largely outweighed by the fact that many advertising categories have more or less halted spending altogether (e.g. travel).

Overview of next round of video ads study

Video ads are very popular among publishers and advertisers alike, and determining whether there are indeed video ad formats that most ad-blocking users find acceptable has been a high priority for the AAC since 2019.

Following an initial video ad study conducted last year, the AAC has commissioned a second scientific study to measure the disruptiveness of various video ad formats within the context of a user’s broader web experience.

This second round of research will survey 3,500 ad-blocking participants on several video ad formats of durations up to 15 seconds.

New branding for the AAC in progress

The AAC has been around since 2017, but the look and feel of the brand hasn’t evolved over that time. Since the last meeting, a small group of volunteers from the committee support team put together some mockups for a new and improved look for the AAC brand.

We presented these mockups to the broader Committee to gather their feedback, and the feedback was quite positive. The next step on this front is for the Representatives of the AAC to vote on whether to adopt the new proposed branding.

We are also very excited to welcome new members to the AAC:

The AAC is always on the lookout for new members who want to take an active role in helping to shape a sustainable advertising ecosystem; if interested, please reach out to us at