Response to the news that the Internet Advertising Bureau has standardized seven new online advertising formats has been mixed. Some believe the new formats will provide exciting beyond the banner opportunities. But others think the IAB should have introduced the new formats long ago and that they are no longer the innovations the industry needs.
The seven new formats include two Skyscrapers, four rectangular boxes and a square pop up. They augment the seven formats the IAB standardized in 1996, banners and buttons that continue to dominate the Internet but are widely criticized because they generate low response.
The new formats are all much larger than standard banners. The Skyscrapers are tall ads that dominate the side of a Web page. The boxes fit into the center of a page like a magazine ad, adjacent to the editorial content. The larger size will presumably command attention and generate additional clicks.
Besides being bigger, some of the new formats feature interactive layers that can be clicked to provide additional information without leaving the page, such as product details and contact data.
"It's an exciting new development that will revolutionize advertising opportunities for the industry," says Joe Kyriakoza, global account director at Beyond Interactive, a division of Grey Advertising in Ann Arbor, MI. "The larger size makes them more noticeable and the interactive element provides more detailed information to the user."
Beyond Interactive was the first agency to use the Messaging Plus rectangular box format developed by CNET Networks. The box has been used by Oracle on CNET.com and will soon be used by other clients, Kyriakoza says.
Snowball.com, a two-year-old media and entertainment site for young adults, will launch four of the new IAB formats on March 1, according to Rick Boyce, president of the San Francisco company.
Boyce believes the new formats are valuable because they enable the industry to reach out to traditional advertisers. He says there's been a basic shift from dot.com to non-dot.com advertisers on his site, with about 80 percent of the advertising now done by non-dot-coms, compared with 20 percent a year ago. "For companies comfortable spending money on traditional media, it's imperative for our industry to develop a model that is more comparable in terms of size and impact to the advertising in traditional media," he says.
Richy Glassberg, president/CEO of Phase2Media, an Internet rep firm, and vice chairman of the IAB, says these are the first new formats introduced by the IAB since 1996. "We waited too long," he admits, claiming the IAB was busy doing other things. The new formats were finally created by the IAB's ad unit task force, with representatives from 11 IAB member companies: Yahoo, AOL, Excite@home, Terralycos, Microsoft Network, The New York Times Digital, Disney Internet Group, CNET, DoubleClick, Snowball.com and Phase2Media.
The formats were developed by these