The Public Comment Period to review a draft of the new IAB Standard Ad Unit Portfolio ended last December and the IAB has been reviewing the feedback since then. The new standard expresses ad size units, not in pixels, but in aspect ratio, thus addressing the fluid nature of the multi-screen requirements that are so important in today's technology.
Essentially, the new ad portfolio dramatically reduces the number of ad units from 33 down to 12, greatly simplifying the options and required production that would otherwise be required for these ads. Rather than names such as "skyscraper" these new ad units are expressed by their "ratios", such as 1:1, 4:1, 10:1, etc.
Here is an example of the 4:1 unit and how it looks on laptop, tablet and smartphone. In simple terms, the ad unit is 4 times wider than the height, hence its 4:1 label.
The new ad units are of course based on HTML5, a technology that has all but superseded the old Adobe Flash format, which once was the undisputed "king" of animated advertising. We wrote about this before – here.
The new ad unit standards address two key issues:
In addition to these new ad units, the IAB has issued a major update to its "Mobile Rich Media Ad Interface Definitions" that should arm creatives with an arsenal of metrics that were previously unavailable. These definitions, more commonly known as "MRAID", define a standard that allows creatives to make one ad type so it can run across multiple apps or web pages without issue. Prior to its creation, ads had to be custom-tailored to each publisher's app.
The new update -- now on its third version -- will provide more granular insights into things like viewability, audio, ad load times and create a new standard for the "close button" on creatives. Up until today, the IAB had no standard for view-ability of in-app advertisements.
It been very clear for some years now that mobile devices are taking over the world and have rapidly become the main way audiences are consuming content.
It is no surprise then that institutions such as the IAB had little choice but to step up to the plate and issue updated standards in order to provide guidance for advertisers and publishers.
The effects on consumers cannot be ignored either. The world will be a much happier place if websites and apps behave in more consumer-friendly ways. After all, we get to enjoy lots of free content and apps because of ad-supported development. By setting sensible guidelines, we stand a chance of achieving equilibrium – i.e. the fine balance between enjoying free content and being presented with advertising messages that pay for it.
Now, if only everyone would adopt these guidelines . . . . .