IAB Digital Video Rising Stars Announced: Standardising Ad Units

IAB Digital Video Rising Stars Announced: Standardising Ad Units

Share on

The IAB has put out a list of five new rising star digital video ad units. Now that they are selected, the testing phase begins with the ultimate goal being the ad unit is inducted into the IAB Standard Advertising Unit Portfolio, the definitive standards for the digital advertising industry. It’s like making a bill a law, except we don’t get the cool animated short about the process.

The five new digital video rising star ad units were submitted by CBS Interactive, Celtra, DG MediaMind, DoubleClick, Innovid, Jivox, Microsoft, Mixpo, Spongecell, Tremor Video, Yahoo! and YuMe. Over the next several months they will work with the IAB to create detailed specifications that will determine operational parameters on how the ad units will operate and display across all players and devices.

These winning companies will now collaborate with IAB, the Agency Working Group and digital video ad operations experts over the next 90-120 days to create detailed specifications for the units to run across screens and players. Here’s a look at each of the five units.

Digital Ad Unit: Ad Control Bar

Sitting just about the video control bar is the Ad Control Bar, an overlay which allows additional information and content to be expanded over the video. It allows “viewers to ‘control’ the ad experience, including the ability to engage in content-rich, interactive experiences,with consistent behaviors that keep the viewer firmly in control.”


The Ad Control Bar begins as a line of icons in an interactive layer but does not pause the content playing beneath it.

I can see this being useful in not just video ads, but video marketing content in general. Especially on mobile devices where screen size is the limiting factor.

Digital Ad Unit: Extender

The Extender, as the name suggests, extends the video ad interaction time by allowing the viewer to watch an extended version or more content in regards to the video ad. It’s meant as an invitation to watch more video ad, not as an interruption to the viewing experience. It is also an interactive overlay in the video player.

extenderFairly straight forward and it could be used, for example, to allow the viewer to watch a longer first video ad and then watch the video content for a longer period before the next ad pod busts in and interrupts their content viewing. Similar to how some ads on Hulu allow you to watch a long ad and then watch uninterrupted.

Digital Ad Unit: Filmstrip

Imagine looking at a strip of film in a horizontal orientation and you have the gist of the Filmstrip ad unit. It sits next to the main video player area, but still in the player itself, and allows for a YouTube-like video list, but loaded with video ad content.

a scrolling, multi-panel ad experience designed to provide a content-rich, interactive canvas with consistent behaviors that keep the viewer firmly in control.

As shown below, it is user initiated in that it is a small interactive overlay which, when clicked, expands to the whole video player. The visual representation in the specification isn’t all that good.

filmstripThe squiggly line bit on the right is the filmstrip. Here’s the video to better show it off. from the video below, it doesn’t look like that at all. The image on the left suggest that there’s a small interactive overlay which the user can click to get the full interaction, but when you watch the video, the filmstrip is already in the video player.

Digital Ad Unit: Fullscreen

How was this not a standard digital video ad unit already? Here’s something quirky, in the specification, it’s called “full player,”Full Player means Full Player.The ad format should take full advantage of the entire available video player screen.” So, which is it guys? On the Digital Video Rising Stars page, it’s listed as Full Screen, on the spec, it’s Full Player. Check out the design spec image.

fullplayerAnd here’s the video which backs up the Full Player name.

In case you missed it, here’s a still from 0:08 of that video.

full player in page

I don’t exactly see what is new or how this made it to the final five. What it seems to be saying is that, aside from the player UI and control bar, the video ad should play in the entire video player space? Isn’t that, essentially, a full-sized video overlay?

Digital Ad Unit: Time Sync

Time Sync is yet another interactive video overlay with more information. This time, *gasp*, it’s on the left side of the video player. It works much the same way as many other video overlays in that it’s clickable and offers more information. The big difference seems to be the fact that the highlighted content in the left side bar is synced to what is being shown in the video ad.

time sync ad unit

Here’s the video demonstration, which gives you an idea of how much movement might be distracting the viewer during your ad…and a really annoying clothing ad to boot!

It’s like, they made a clothing ad for cats with all the random, fast-paced changes. But I digress, I’m not here to critique the ad content, just the new ad unit.


Overall, there doesn’t seem to be anything super exciting in these rising stars, it just feels like the IAB is simply catching up to what everyone is already using. Four are interactive video overlays and one allows the viewer to choose to watch a longer ad. The only innovation is perhaps the time synced nature of the Time Sync ad unit, but again, it could prove more distracting and annoying to viewers than useful if it is constantly flipping between products and taking up 15% of the player space. I know that motion draws the eye and it might do just that, but if you have motion on the left and motion on the main video player screen, where will the viewer’s eyes go? I suspect, they’ll be cross, both the eyes and the viewer.

Even odder, the Billboard rising star ad unit in the display rising stars, seems far cooler to me, and utilizes video as well. Check this out.

In fact, all of the display ad units seem to, and they all seem more innovative than most of the digital video rising stars. Also of note, there’s a ‘filmstrip’ ad unit in all three areas – digital video, display, mobile.

My Vote?

Crisp Media may have the holy grail of all ads with their adhesion ad unit which eliminates the “fold” on mobile… Check this one out.

I can see why that would be popular with just about anyone, except the consumer. Then again, it’s not even all that intrusive if you’ve got a large screen smartphone. Winner, winner, chicken dinner!


Video Industry

Share on

Read More Insights

©2021 Tubular Insights & Tubular Labs, Inc.