New IAB Ad Unit Portfolio backs fluid cross-platform campaigns

The IAB recently released a finalised version of its new Standard Ad Unit Portfolio to help advertisers stay relevant in a fast-paced industry. With the use of industry surveys, user research, and testing, the new ad portfolio ensures the customer remains central to the advertising experience.

The results confirmed users are looking for consistency and expect ads to be tailored to the platform – whether they are served on laptop, mobile, via social media or an app. As such, the guidelines aim to facilitate fluid campaigns that can work seamlessly with the huge diversity of the current digital landscape as well as embrace future technology and development.

The guidelines have been updated to embrace new ad units, based on HTML5 technology incorporated in the IAB’s LEAN principles of lightweight, encrypted, ad choices-supported, non-invasive advertising.

Leading industry experts shared their thoughts on the new standards with What’s New in Publishing:

Alex McIlvenny, UK Country Manager, Ligatus

“In an ever changing world it’s great to see that industry standards are constantly being reviewed and evolving to ensure there is a uniformed basis from which all digital advertisers can continue to grow their online presence and maintain the user experience at the heart of everything they do. The IAB is there to assist all parties and govern the digital ecosystem. They have taken into consideration best practices when developing these new guidelines however, it is still extremely important for everyone in digital marketing to have the user in mind and ensure that their journey is relevant, contextual and meaningful.

“The IAB standards encompass diverse digital interactions across multiple channels, reflecting evolving consumer behaviours and the demand for an improved ad experience. Advertisers and publishers must work together to ensure their formats fit these new industry standards, and communication between all parties is key to achieving the seamless experience today’s users crave.”

Dominic Trigg, VP EMEA, OpenX

“We welcome the IAB’s New Standard Ad Unit Portfolio. Many of the publishers we partner with are already developing measures for content to be delivered to multiple screen sizes, and advertisers must also place pressure on agencies and ad tech companies to ensure creative can be scaled to different sizes.

 “Personalisation, ad engagement and user experience is at the heart of the ad tech industry, and by emphasising flexible ad size specifications, the industry can create better advertising experiences on the wide range of devices consumers use, rather than adopting a ‘one size fits’ all approach.”

Andrew Bloom, GM EMEA, Sizmek

“In an increasingly mobile and programmatic world, publishers and advertisers need a way of building respectful, scalable and engaging advertising experiences for consumers. Data hungry formats lost the argument for those in the advertising industry who say that advertising pays for content. The LEAN portfolio helps deliver on the promise of non-invasive, best practice advertising that will sustain the informative and enjoyable aspects of advertising for consumers across all channels.”

Ally Stuart, Regional Director EMEA, Sharethrough

“Native’s starring role in the IAB’s New Standard Ad Portfolio further cements that it’s no longer a buzzword or bolt-on strategy – it is mainstream and I fully expect will soon be the industry’s default advertising approach. Buyers continue to shift budget from traditional display to native, both on social platforms and the open web.

“The ambition to reach Millennials is driving the adoption of native; brands need to meet their innate expectation of fast uploads and seamless mobile browsing. Over 90% of this demographic discover their content in-feed, and four-fifths feel in-feed native ads deliver a positive user experience. Native video standardisation – identified as one of the IAB’s four native ad units – is the other main factor for adoption, with native outstream video spend growing 500% on the Sharethrough Exchange last year alone. The inclusion of video as a core ad unit is indicative of an evolving media landscape with escalating video consumption, particularly on smaller screen devices.

“The IAB standards encompass diverse digital interactions across multiple channels, reflecting evolving consumer behaviours and the demand for an improved ad experience. Advertisers and publishers must work together to ensure their formats fit these new industry standards, and communication between all parties is key to achieving the seamless experience today’s users crave.”

Claudia Collu, Chief Commercial Officer, MainAd:

“While flexible ads should considerably reduce the input needed by ad ops teams, a one-size-fits-all format must still be managed sufficiently. Simply resizing banners won’t achieve optimum results as it must be remembered that all devices are different – with variations in screen size, loading times, and the way in which users engage with them. With flexible ads bringing streamlined operational efficiencies, there is the opportunity to invest the time saved in advancing creativity and innovation to deliver targeted, personalised messaging at scale, ensuring the ad placement is the best fit for the right device and the correct audience.”