Warc Blog

Ad standards must cater for all screens

11 July 2014
REDDING, CT: The digital advertising standards of the future will need to ensure that new ad types are able to thrive across multiple screens, a leading industry figure has argued.

Writing in Marketing Land, Peter Minnium, Head of Brand Initiatives at the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), identified three future ad types which would "loosely align" with strategic intent: concept ads, content ads and commerce ads. The next generation of standards, he said, would have to work with these ad types while at the same time being sufficiently flexible to deal with constant change.

He described concept ads as "finished files", designed to express a creative idea and be served in a fixed manner, similar to print ad artwork that could only ever be rendered in one way. "They most often have the upper funnel goals of generating brand and attribute awareness along with favorability and intent to purchase", he wrote, and suggested that IAB Rising Stars formats fell into this category.

Content ads, on the other hand, were unlikely to have fixed rules but were still high quality material designed to engage the user whether by reading, viewing, sharing or commenting. Native advertising was typical of this genre, which Minnium said was geared towards a mid-funnel goal of enhancing consumer understanding of a brand or product.

Commerce ads are currently the main form of digital display advertising, based on users' shopping and search history. While these are not especially captivating, "the rendering and serving logic can be sophisticated to ensure that the right offer is served to each viewer," Minnium noted, an important factor for an ad with a bottom funnel goal.

While content creators have been rapidly adapting to consumers' increasingly screen-agnostic behaviour, ad creators have lagged behind – a reflection of the need for cross-screen ad standards according to Minnium.

He identified five approaches that were emerging from IAB consultations, including: responsive ads, mirroring standards for responsive web design; ad equivalents, where, for example, "unit A" on a desktop is equal to "unit B" on a tablet and "unit C" on a smartphone; ad components, focusing on delivery method rather than pixel dimensions; standardising the size of native ads and leaving the market to worry about the cross-screen issue; and interoperability, where the emphasis is placed on the "plumbing" of ads across screens.

Data sourced from Marketing Land; additional content by Warc staff

 
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