“We messed up.”
This is the opening line from the IAB release about the LEAN ads initiative to improve user experience in ad formats. The imbalance between the prevalence of mobile in today’s media mix and the reign of bad ad formats and the subsequent rise of ad blocking has led to an industry reinventing itself.
This week, the IAB announced a new ad portfolio at IAB MIXX, an annual conference on digital advertising’s new world order. This new ad portfolio builds on a number of working groups at IAB including the Ad Blocking and Flex Ads working group, which a number of Yieldmo employees are actively contributing to.
The details of the IAB’s new ad format standards can be found here, which is open for public comment until November 28th, after which time the IAB will make revisions and publish finalized standards. For now, the main takeaways from the new ad portfolio are:
- First, the IAB is addressing the fact that mobile is increasing its dominance and marketers need to stop shoehorning desktop creative into mobile formats. To accomplish this, the IAB is transitioning to “Flex Ads,” which are assets based on aspect ration only, rather than fixed pixel sizing. This change will allow creative to easily look great across all platforms. The industry will be moving away from 300×250 pixel ad units and toward 1×1 “tiles,” which falls squarely (pun intended) into Yieldmo standard format assets. A complete table of old and new IAB standard specs is available in that same document linked above.
- Secondly, the IAB is taking a stance against interruptive and disruptive ad formats by phasing out the Rising Star units introduced in 2011 and is helping pave the way to defining acceptable ad payloads and approaches to lightweight loading. Yieldmo was founded on this exact thinking and we’re excited to see the industry follow suit.
- Finally, the new guidelines address outstream video, which often uses significant data. The IAB wants video to be user-initiated on mobile — unless the ad loads over a speedier Wi-Fi connection — and for consumers to be able to pause ads. While our Hyperplay and Windowplay outstream formats have autoplaying video elements, they adhere to the IAB’s LEAN guidance for this format type. Both Hyperplay and Windowplay are wrapped in a user-initiated interactive presentation, and offer a respectful and enjoyable user experience (audio is muted until user initiates full-screen mode, video does not play until after ad is at least 50% in view, and only a small portion of the video is downloaded until the ad comes into view).
At Yieldmo, we have always designed our formats using ratio-based assets to ensure responsiveness, and the delivery of our ads has been developed to be as light as possible to preserve the user experience. We’re excited to hear that the industry is listening to our approach and that collectively we can work toward making mobile as enjoyable as possible for consumers, effective for advertisers, and profitable for publishers.