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IAB updates ad unit portfolio

News, 27 September 2016

NEW YORK: The overhaul of the IAB's standard ad unit portfolio, announced yesterday, not only addresses the need to reach consumers across multiple devices with new technologies but also takes the opportunity to retire some earlier formats.

The new guidelines, now in a two-month public comment period, put the emphasis on flexibility, with ad units that integrate aspect ratio-based flexible ad sizes. And these all incorporate the IAB's LEAN Principles – being lightweight, encrypted, AdChoices supported, and non-invasive.

"It's a pretty big change for the IAB because we are moving away from fixed units and toward a more responsive model," said Alanna Gombert, general manager at the IAB Tech Lab which developed the guidelines.

"The ad units will adjust themselves based on screen size," she told Advertising Age.

The revised portfolio also introduces guidelines for new content experiences like virtual reality and 360-degree video ads, as well as digital advertising that uses emojis, stickers, and more.

Ad Exchanger noted the end of the road for several intrusive formats: "No more unwanted sound. Less autoplay. And say goodbye to expanding ads, Rising Stars, 300x250s and 728x90s."

And no more data-heavy outstream video as the IAB seeks to ensure that any mobile video is user-initiated.

One consequence of the new portfolio will be that advertisers no longer have to build specific units for mobile, a development that will likely benefit publishers. "Those screens will get more play," Gombert said.

Another is that the programmatic buying process will change as bidding algorithms adjust to set new prices, valuing some ad sizes more than others.

"All in all, this rethinking of the IAB Standard Ad Unit Portfolio will set the stage for marketers, agencies, and creatives to approach the future with the utmost confidence in digital's ability to effectively reach and captivate audiences," Gombert added.

Data sourced from IAB, Advertising Age, Ad Exchanger; additional content by Warc staff