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The IAB’s New Ad Portfolio Guidelines: What Does the Future Hold for Us?

Most of the online users have swiftly shifted from desktop to tablets and mobile phones in the recent times. Such transformation in online traffic is also due to the apparent entry of wearable and headphones in to scene. Such changes in content consumption have enhanced desperation among advertisers to seek for standards and guidance so that they could ensure that their ads would be displayed across all the screen formats in reliable manner. Regrettably, most of the specifications and guidelines are more than a couple years old, where the modifications are dearly required in order to catch up with rapidly pacing digital evolution.

Publishers and advertisers were definitely pleased when the new Standard Ad Portfolio was released by Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB). These remains to be the major step forward with regard to expectedly remove most of the issues vis-à-vis confusing standards on which most of the advertisers previously depended.

As a matter of fact, the real question here is to what extent various creative and media agencies are willing to adopt these newly introduced standards.

In this regard, the new ad portfolio has incorporated flexibility in addition to the LEAN (light, encrypted, ad choice supported, non-invasive) guidelines by IAB for improving digital advertising strategies and practices especially when there is a reduction in the use of HTML5 and Flash.

Formerly, most of the advertisers did point out the issues over working with preset standards that were updated based on particular objectives or needs. This protocol updating strategy definitely created confusion in the market, and hence the possibility of making the broader acceptance of default standards became quite rare. The confusion was, therefore, clearly observed in terms of how many of the delivery issues needed an overhaul evaluation for their extensive impact across the ecosystem. The key problem in this respect is that by the time of completion of this analysis, most of the time-sensitive advertisement campaigns would already have been completed. Therefore, while the media community may have been made cautious about this issue, the resultant impact would still be levied upon the campaign itself.

Another important issue was concerned with user invasiveness and ad-blocker apps deployment. We have already observed the impact of ad formats delivering very troublesome user experiences, as they ultimately divert the consumers’ attention to other pages. Such bothersome formats serve as a prime example, which basically go unchecked in ecosystem. The LEAN initiative would therefore allow resolving this problem through provision of precision and preservation of user friendliness, better performance and the file size. Fundamentally, the digital media industry as a whole is moving in the direction of overall experience enhancement.

Furthermore, FLEX initiative is helpful in provision of standard guidance for shifting from secure and dimension-based size to the aspect ratio. This will fulfill the responsiveness needed for consumers who are habitual in using multiple devices. Where most of the leading players in the industry have been gearing up for the implementation of a friendlier, leaner and least-invasive advertising, Flex piece still questions about required behind-the-scene modifications. This is especially in case of publishers as well as end-to-end solutions are prepared for making this change in their websites and media buying solutions.

In the current scenario, websites are themselves accountable for their own responsive capabilities. Where some of the sites and their users find it beneficial for their unified cross-channel experience, most of the websites and agencies have found it too complicated vis-à-vis implementation. Moreover, determining the advantages and disadvantages of altering advertising methods is quite different for each of the entities, which is entirely dependent on the nature of infrastructure. However, it is important for understanding the impact that the firms could experience if they do not intend to opt for. This further raises a question whether the websites are willing to adopt new ad portfolio standards or they will just put their existing setup on hold.

So, as the digital advertising keeps on evolving, it is an exciting thing to witness how the acceptance of latest standards shapes. It further remains to be seen whether the IAB’s portfolio is effective in molding existing and dynamic ecosystem. Whether this will be an improved solution for future year or simply another short-term solution, is what we are going to look forward to.

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