The World Federation of Advertisers (WFA) has proposed the creation of a new international standards and regulatory ‘coalition’ for digital advertising, to help combat the threat of ad blocking.
A recent report by PageFair revealed that ad blocking surged 90% in the 12 months to January 2015, with some 93% of the world’s ad block users in Asia Pacific. It also estimated that at least 419 million globally are blocking ads on smartphones.
The WFA is now arguing that the industry must stop blaming consumers and “look at itself”, and look at the causes of ad blocking to find “sustainable solutions”.
It proposes greater engagement with consumers to establish “clear preferences” for the advertising they are willing to see, and then regularly monitoring their responses. This includes preferences over formats, frequencies and volumes of advertising.
The WFA will then looking to assemble a “broader coalition”, including publishers, to “support and enhance” local initiatives.
“It is our responsibility to reach our customers with strong content they are interested in via channels they choose”
WFA president and RBS chief marketing officer David Wheldon said: “The industry needs to reflect on the rise of ad blocking. Advertising has always been cultural wallpaper and we have a duty of care to make it as attractive and engaging as possible so that people enjoy it, not want to shut it out.”
Other senior marketers backed the move. Luis Di Como, senior vice-president of global media at Unilever, commented: “As an industry we need to focus on creating content that is authentic, relevant for consumers and drives talkability – creative that enhances rather than detracts from users’ online experiences.
Meanwhile, Roel de Vries, CMO at Nissan, argued: “It is our responsibility to reach our customers with strong content they are interested in via channels they choose. If we do our job well, we will always be able to reach them.”