iab seal for videoThe IAB, Interactive Advertising Bureau, is an organization that helps the online advertising industry. It offers legal support, conducts research and develops industry standards. Recently it developed new standards and guidelines for online video advertising.

The standards and guidelines for online video advertising are meant to help everyone in the industry by standardizing linear, non-linear and companion ads. This was done so advertisers could have a standard range of options and increase the flow of offline advertising to the online area by making it easier to understand the options. The guidelines were developed by the Digital Video Committee which consists of about 145 of the top media companies including Google, Yahoo and others.

  • Linear ad – The ad plays either before, after or in the middle of the specific content. Similar to TV commercials.
  • Non-Linear ad – Runs outside the content and usually concurrently. May be video, graphics or text.
  • Companion ads – Add-on features related to the video content including interactive buttons, skins around the content, text and other rich media.

The guidelines are just that, suggested best practices, and not in fact laws for online video advertising. They cover things like duration of pre-roll, filesize, color depth, bit rate and other specifics. This will help advertisers when deciding if they can re-purpose content they already have of if they will need to invest in new video specifically for their online advertising campaigns. It will also assist them in comparing what they get in an online advertising campaign as opposed to what they get in a more traditional campaign.

But what has the industry clapping its hands isn’t that set of specifications but in fact the potential for creative format standardization. By putting in place a widely accepted set of video format specifications the value of online video advertising climbs exponentially as advertisers are no longer required to invest into multiple formats so that they can advertise in multiple locations. A single standard creative video format guideline or standard would be incredibly beneficial to not only the advertisers but the industry as well. Advertisers will be able to invest less money into the video production which means they will have a larger spend budget for ad placement. This could then conceivably turn into far more business for the publishers and a higher rate of ad placement in general. It could also work to draw offline advertisers online at a faster clip and increase the market segment on the whole.

The new creative format standards state that linear ads should be 15 or 30 seconds max, pre-, mid- or post-roll. The ads can be clickable, a minimum level of controls must be present and sizes should be one of the following: 300×250, 300×100, 468×60, 728×90 or 300×60.

Non-linear specifications include: played during video, 5-15 seconds, persistent, clickable or rollover to initiate overlay, sizes should be either 300×50 or 450×50. The overlay should be no more than 1/5th the height of the player.

Companion ads simply have a size requirement in that a publisher must accept one of the following for compliance: 300×250, 300×100, 468×60, 728×90 or 300×60

The IAB launched a compliance seal in a self-checking format. Publishers can attach the seal to their site by adhering to the Ad Format Guidelines alone. The rest of the information is best practices and is not necessary for compliance.

This new set of standards and guidelines for creative format and specifications, when coupled with the previously developed measurement standards, could give advertisers all the incentive they need to move their offline campaigns online or to expand them to include both.

The full guideline document can be found here

By: Mark Robertson & Christophor Rick