What Happened: In response to the recent tidal wave of commentary around ad blocking software, the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) issued their own brand of apology in the form of L.E.A.N—Light, Encrypted, Ad Choice Supported, Non-Invasive—a new, alternative set of ad standards that provide choice to marketers, content creators and consumers.
What This Means for Brands: While L.E.A.N. isn’t intended to replace current ad standards, the organization hopes to refocus ad-blocking attention to the root of the issue—lack of moderation in pushing profit margins and blatant disregard for user experience. The debate over the implications of ad blocking software on revenue and profit margins will likely rage on, but the introduction of these alternative standards provides a inflection point for brands and agencies to examine how they are implementing paid media strategies. As publishers continue to grapple with ongoing disruption on the path to sustained profitability, don’t we owe it to our media comrades to commit to rethinking our approaches and expectations for delivering paid content in a way that listens to consumer needs and adjusts accordingly?