The Better Ads Standards: What publishers need to know



August 1, 2023

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Better Ads Standards compliant

The Internet is a vast repository of information, offering billions of users free access to high-quality content. Our web ecosystem is driven by publishers producing free content, supported by the powerful incentive of advertising. However, the dramatic increase in ad blockers is causing major disruptions. As ad block users increase, publishers’ revenue decreases. Publishers, attempting to recover losses, display more advertisements, leading to more ad blocker installations and perpetuating the unproductive cycle.

How can this cycle be broken? First, it’s crucial to recognize that most users don’t install ad blockers because they want to block all ads. Rather, in their attempts to block annoying and intrusive advertisements, ad blockers - which block all advertisements indiscriminately - become installed as a result. The solution to maintaining our ecosystem is improving the advertising experience for users. Major players involved in online media, including Google, Facebook, iAB, and more, have formed a Coalition for Better Ads to work towards a solution.

What are the Better Ads Standards?

The Better Ads Standards, developed by the Coalition for Better Ads, identify which ad types users find most annoying. The Standards are based on extensive user research by the Coalition and serve as a guide for publishers wanting the highest eCPM possible.

Ad format dos and don’ts


Dos (”Good” ad types)


  • Long, skinny ad on right-hand side
  • Static large image ad at top
  • Static inline ad

Mobile (web)

  • Small sticky top banner
  • Sticky ad on bottom
  • Small static inline ad

Don’ts (”Bad” ad types)


  • Large sticky ads
  • Prestitial ads with countdown
  • Pop-up ads
  • Auto-playing video ads with sound

Mobile (web)

  • Large sticky ads
  • Pop-up ads
  • Flashing animated ads
  • Full-screen scrollover ads
  • Ad density higher than 30%
  • Auto-playing video ads with sound

At Ad-Shield, we’ve been working with publishers to help them utilize the Better Ads Standards and recover ad-blocked revenue. Based on our experience, here are three key things that publishers need to know.

1. Bad ad formats can hurt you

“Bad” ad formats - in other words, the Don’ts shown above - may seem effective in the short term, but they can cause more harm than good in the long run.

  • Bad ad formats can negatively impact retention and engagement. Studies showed that over half of all users indicated they would not revisit or share a webpage with bad ad formats.
  • Bad ad formats can cause revenue losses. As part of the Better Ads Standards, Google Chrome implemented built-in ad blockers that automatically block ads violating the Standards. Over 60% of all users utilize Chrome, meaning bad ads risk being blocked by a significant portion of the online population.
  • Bad ad formats can cause (more) revenue losses. While low-price advertisements simply seek cheap impressions, higher-priced ads want safer, qualified, quality impressions. Good UX is essential for quality impressions, and good ads are essential for good UX. Consequently, displaying bad ads can lower your eCPM and overall revenue.
  • Bad ad formats can negatively impact your SEO. Last year, Google updated its ads’ Destination requirements policy so that any ads directing users to sites displaying ads inconsistent with the Standards will be disapproved. From a publisher’s perspective, if your website displays bad ads, you’ll no longer be able to utilize paid search advertising to increase your traffic.

2. Check whether your ads comply with the Standards

To ensure your ads are Better Ads Standards compliant, we recommend using Google’s Ad Experience Report. Available on Google Search Console, the Report analyzes your site for potential ad issues and flags them as either “site design issues” or “creative issues”. The Report also checks your site in Web and Mobile environments, so remember to download both reports.

3. Users don’t hate all ads; they hate bad ads

Most publishers lose 10-40% of their revenue to ad blocking - yet a staggering 90% of ad blocker users are accepting of non-intrusive ads. As mentioned earlier, simply increasing ads can hurt rather than help your user experience and revenue. Quality is more impactful than quantity. With Ad-Shield’s next-generation adblock recovery technology, publishers can recover ad-blocked impressions simply by inserting a single line of code. Our solution is Better Ads Standards compliant, allowing publishers to monetize ad-block users while respecting their advertising experience. (And, for the 1-5% of ad-block users looking for an entirely ad-free experience, our solution can provide opt-out processes.)

Join us in building an internet enjoyable for everyone. Contact us to get started.
Joon Yu
Founder & CEO